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Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with the liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our hearts sing. — Steve Jobs

At Lake Forest College, Entrepreneurs and Innovators identify problems worth solving and mobilize the people, resources, and networks to solve them.  Lake Forest College embodies an entrepreneurial culture, people and campus environment that stimulates innovation from all areas of the arts and the sciencesLake Forest College’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (ENTP) is a catalyst to help students mobilize people and resources to solve any problem of their choosing. The ENTP minor is the most popular minor on campus

Most Popular Minor on Campus

More than 20% of Lake Forest College students participate in the ENTP programming, courses, and internships that allow students to tailor their experience based on their:

1) AREA OF INTEREST (clean technology, inequality, water rights, food)…

2) INTENDED CAREER PATH including intellectual propertydevelopment (scientists, artists, writers), self-employment (designers, doctors, lawyers, real estate), nonprofit (social innovation, NGOs, education, arts, government) or for-profit venture (start-ups, corporate intrapreneurship, small business).

3) Need for NECESSARY SKILLS for success beyond the ENTPcurriculum (writing, web design, accounting, organizational psychology, etc.).

Distinct Approach

What is distinct about the Lake Forest approach is that our courses and programming provide students with the context, skills, knowledge, discipline and experience to flourish during the process of finding, and solving problems, and to do so in a way that betters themselves, others, and the world.

We do this by teaching, and deliberately practicing, the foundations of psychological resilience (accessing a growth mindset, re-framing failure and adversity, cultivating self-efficacy, self-advocacy and agency; building networks of support, mastering active listening and fearless asking, and navigating difficult conversations) in parallel with the study and application of leading entrepreneurial education theory and the processes required for new venture creation.

The ENTP program is focused on teaching our students how to build effective entrepreneurial teams as well as entrepreneurial leaders; to design contingency plans as well as business plans; and to increase personal and organizational resilience as a means of improving success outcomes. Students learn to understand their personal strengths and motivations, and how to use them as a vehicle for growth in themselves, their teams, and their ventures.

Advisory Council

Created by Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs, the ENTP program is looked after by the Entrepreneurship Advisory Council, a group of highly successful Chicagoland social innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders with a diverse range of expertise. Program Director Patricia “Trish” Thomas, a 3x founder, recently named Illinois Entrepreneurship Professor of the Yearby Future Founders at the 2nd Annual EntrepreneurshipU Awards, leads the program. In 2017, Lake Forest College placed in the top 3 of USASBE’s Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Programs.

Innovation Spaces

Lake Forest College has a series of Innovation Spaces, creative spaces where students can experiment with the latest technology in virtual reality, 3-D printing, audio and video recording, digital photography, theater design, and software creation. Students working on new ventures work with their teams, and mentors, at the Lake Forest College IncubatorSpace, located in downtown Lake Forest.


Entrepreneurship and social innovation students regularly participate in national and international competitions and ideathons such as the Davis Prize for Peace, Princeton University’s Environmental Ideathon, and TCU’s Values and Ventures Competition in addition to the Venture Design Challenge with $10,000 in total prizes.

Interested in learning more?

Check out the Venture Design Challenge

High Praise for Program
  • Lake Forest College placed in the top 3 of USASBE’s “Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Programs” in 2017. 
  • Program Director, Patricia “Trish” Thomas named Illinois Entrepreneurship Professor of the Year by Future Founders at the 2nd Annual EntrepreneurshipU Awards.
I want to learn how a business is run, from the marketing to the planning to the costs. The entrepreneurship and innovation minor lets me learn it all.
Paris Burton ’19

Related Programs


Donna Klein
Department Assistant
Buchanan Hall