03 Mar Groundbreaking entrepreneurship science lab fosters student entrepreneurs
A new lab at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is mobilizing the entrepreneurial ecosystem by working to identify the conditions that foster student entrepreneurship.
The Entrepreneurship Science Lab at UW–Madison, housed within the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, is using data science to bolster student entrepreneurship on college campuses — and by extension, create greater opportunity for young innovators and increase economic prosperity for local communities.
“Entrepreneurship is a means of upward mobility,” says Jon Eckhardt, the lab’s founder and principal investigator. “That’s one reason people pursue entrepreneurship as a career. From society’s perspective, entrepreneurs are our source of new products and services, in addition to new jobs.”
The lab, which opened in January 2021 and includes two postdoctoral researchers, two PhD students, and several undergraduate students, is the formalization and natural evolution of extensive work in the campus entrepreneurial space by Eckhardt and fellow researcher Brent Goldfarb. Eckhardt is an associate professor of management and human resources at the Wisconsin School of Business (WSB). He is also the Pyle Bascom Professor in Business Leadership and a Discovery Fellow with the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. Goldfarb is an associate professor at the University of Maryland and the academic director of the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.
Distinct from other campus programs that foster entrepreneurship through means such as coursework, business plan competitions, or commercializing innovations, the lab is developing data-based insights to grow the number and success rate of student entrepreneurs. The research focuses on measurable outcomes and identifying mechanisms that drive those outcomes.