Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership



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  • 217-244-9425

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  • College of Business

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The AEL is about fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is about new firm creation. They might include corporate spin-offs incubated by large established companies such as Johnson & Johnson, new startups created by enterprising entrepreneurs such as Reed Hastings of Netflix or Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com or companies commercialized by research universities. A related concept is intrapreneurship which refers to an inward focus to generate proactive change within an institution. Recent evidence indicates that enterprising individuals within established companies, i.e. intrapreneurial catalysts, are integrating the scale, capabilities, networks, and resources of large companies to develop solutions to global problems in unique ways. Apart from the firm creation aspect, entrepreneurship is also reflected as an individual attitude: doing more with less.

Innovation, on the other hand, is defined as the introduction of a new product, process, or a business model to satisfy needs, enhance productivity and/ or increase efficiencies. It could be a novel recombination of existing elements that fundamentally shits the trajectory of development.  Innovation is about changing the rules of the game in creative ways and about doing thingsdifferently.

The Academy of Entrepreneurial Leadership (AEL) is the enforcing arm for executing the innovation and entrepreneurship mission of the College.  AEL will be a driver of scholarly, educational, outreach, and professional development opportunities in the areas of innovation, and entrepreneurship. As such, the AEL will contribute to both the intellectual mission of the College and to the education and diffusion of best entrepreneurial and innovation practices. Whether this is the creation of a new business, new approaches to solving social problems or development of career management strategies across various fields, the AEL is helping shape the entrepreneurial field at the University and the world.

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