The role of entrepreneurship and innovation at Columbia Business School has never been more important. Entrepreneurship has not just become part of popular culture with founders of successful companies becoming near celebrities, but part of the business bedrock of the country as more traditional companies search for innovation within and without as they battle entrepreneurs and their growing startups for the future. No longer confined to "tech" industries, the entire economy is now seeing the impact of innovation—from car services to razor blades, the impact of entrepreneurs and innovation is everywhere.
At Columbia Business School, the Lang Center has supported more and more students developing companies and founding startups. This year we saw another record number of students applying for the Summer Startup Track, the Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program, and exceptional companies pitching our own Lang Fund for seed investment. With the foundational framework of "Think, Start, Scale, Invest" guiding the development of our curriculum and programs—from the Lean Launchpad to speakers and mentors year round—it’s never been a better time to be a founder at Columbia Business School.
With this foundation firmly in place, we’re beginning the next round of our growth—expanding our role in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation more broadly in business. We’ll continue, of course, to innovate with our curriculum. For our founders, the Launch Your Startup course has provided a base to build and grow from, but we’re also here to support our students who may not found a company themselves, but wish to join a growth company, or even a more traditional company to focus on innovation and new ways of doing business. As technology companies like Google and Amazon mature and become behemoths, and companies in diverse industries from consumer goods to insurance to telecommunications to healthcare look to innovation to change and improve their business, entrepreneurial thinking becomes more and more valuable. We’re here to support Columbia Business School’s students with new coursework in areas like product management, finance, and sales management that work alongside entrepreneurial approaches to these areas of business. We’re preparing the innovation leaders of the future with the tools they need to manage growth—whether as an early stage startup, a growth stage company, or in a larger organization.
We’re also aware that entrepreneurial activities don’t always fit neatly into a student’s time at school. With more and more interest from alumni in starting their own companies, sometimes many years out, our next frontier is bringing the learning and development infrastructure that helps our students launch their companies to our broader community—even internationally. We’re already bringing the community together through events and mentorship, and we’re working to bring more Columbia Business School alumni the support they need as entrepreneurs, wherever they start. One of the strengths of the School has always been our global footprint, and entrepreneurial alumni are no exception. From our center here in New York City, we can tap into a global of network of alumni around the world who can help support entrepreneurial ventures wherever they form.
The next few years of growth for the Lang Center will be taking this vision and making it a practical reality with programs and coursework that support our students and alumni entrepreneurs alike. We’ll be leveraging the energy and excitement of the Columbia Business School alumni to support our innovation community, whether they start a company while in school, in two years, or 20 years later. Just like the entrepreneurs we support, we’ll be trying a lot of new things and seeing what works best to support our community. Entrepreneurship and innovation are only growing in importance to companies large and small—and so we’ll keep innovating as well.