Entrepreneurship and opening a business is quite a journey.  For some, it happens on the first try. For others, they go through numerous ideas and business attempts until finally they get it. Regardless of which one of these you are, one thing is certain. It is one of the best learning experiences you will ever have. And while nobody will ever teach you how to be an entrepreneur, there are numerous resources and people along the way that will help shape you into someone that knows which questions to ask, what to look for, and how to think.

The Las Vegas ecosystem is an interesting space for upcoming entrepreneurs. It’s not Silicon Valley just yet but if you are trying to start your own business you will find that people are willing to help you out, especially if you are a student. UNLV offers several opportunities for students to succeed and among those, are a few courses that you can take that will help you become a better business owner.

Technology Commercialization - EGG 460

If you’ve ever wanted to know how a product comes to market, this is the course for you. Taught by Dominic Marrocco, and Leith Martin, this is course was designed to teach students how to commercialize a product and take it to market. Throughout the course, students do a feasibility analysis on tech projects, especially around the Las Vegas area to help local start ups.

This has not only helped the community come together, but students are exposed to which questions they should ask and what effective tools will make a product successful. Students in the field are exposed to commercialization strategies not often taught in engineering. There is a big focus on conducting customer interviews and talking to people. You are able to learn much more about an industry if you’re engaged and asking questions, learning if there is a market for your product, and finding who you can sell it to. This is an engineering elective, but it is open to all majors. Prerequisites may be required, but depending on the courses you’ve taken thus far, they can be waived.

Lean Startups - MGT 304R

Focused in the entrepreneurship field, this course has students do individual start up projects with start-up capital between $10 - 100. Students can open any type of business, although it has to be new, creative, and not illegal of course. They are able to use any resources they already have and from then, they see how much money they can make by the end of the semester. It pushes students to ask questions, report their findings, interact with a business model canvas, and sell their ideas to others. One student wanted to give people the experience of feeling like Beyonce, so he became a Snapchat Assistant and captured people’s moments at concerts, parties, and other events.

Business Plan Creation - MGT 497

Along with Lean Startups, this course is taught by Dr. Rawhouser. Teams in this class focus on real business ideas and seeing if they are viable for start ups in the community, or themselves if they desire to have their own business someday. This course has helped students get closer with the community, and work towards the great entrepreneurial ecosystem that it has the potential to be. Throughout the course, students create a business plan, learn which components are essential, and most importantly teaches them that entrepreneurship is learned by doing it.

Global Entrepreneurship Program - BGES 201

If you know someone who will be attending UNLV, regardless of their major, highly encourage them to apply for the GEE program. This is a four year program open to any major and is led by Dr. Janet Runge. You graduate with a minor in global entrepreneurship, paid for by scholarships, and during the third year, you get to travel abroad with your cohort.

The first year students are faced with a series of creative tasks and projects to get them out of the common core mindset of completing projects with a list of rules, guidelines, and all things you must do in order to “succeed” or get an A… With this class, there are no rules, no guidelines, just like it is with entrepreneurship.

During the second year, students work in teams, and work on innovative ideas for the Governor's Cup competition, which has resulted in some big checks for numerous students in the program.

For the third year, students explore how to take their ideas to a global scale and learn what to look for in an international setting and how to do business outside of their comfort zone. By the fourth year, students prepare and learn how to sustain their businesses, and focus on how their business can give back and help the community.

Additional resources:

The courses mentioned above are for undergraduate students, but if you’re in the MBA program, you may consider checking out the following:

New Venture Creation - MGT 709

New venture management is one of the focuses offered in the MBA program at UNLV, although you are able to also pursue a graduate certificate in this field. If you’re ready to learn how to grow or start a new business, these are some of the classes offered to help you do exactly that. Students interact with local business owners, and explore logistics, operations, consumer needs, and the financial viability of a new venture. This course is taught in the fall and is open to all MBA students who have interest.

New Venture Feasibility - MGT 710

To follow up on New Venture Creation, this course is taught in the spring. It focuses on helping students explore business opportunities, ways of obtaining capital, how to deal with legal issues, personnel, and business operations. By the end of the course students prepare and present a business plan to their cohort.  

Lynda for UNLV

Now free to UNLV students, Lynda.com offers several courses to work on your skills in any field. From becoming a Microsoft Excel expert, to learning Project Management, you can surely find a course on something you’ve always wanted to learn about. Just link your student information to the site and get going!

UNLV is always looking for ways to make the community better and provide a great experience for the students. The Lee Business School is consistently moving up the ranks each year and has faculty with years of experience in different industries that are willing to help you out in your pursuing your venture. College is a great time to learn and grow as a person, and whether you succeed or fail at your first business attempt, the things learned along the way will stick with you always.

About the Author

Helena Lagos was born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and moved to Las Vegas at the young age of ten.  From a young age she knew she had a passion for business, and also lived in Curacao and Italy, which led her to pursue a career in International Business and minor in Global Entrepreneurship. Through her studies at UNLV and involvement with RVF, she aspires to start her own business and become a venture capitalist. 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RVF or UNLV. In addition, thoughts and opinions are subject to change and this article is intended to provide an opinion of the author at the time of writing this article. All data and information is for informational purposes only.