Roots of Entrepreneurial Education

Innovative, open-ended problem solving is deeply embedded in our programs. This thought process is naturally in alignment with entrepreneurship. The ideas and skills learned in our classes help students take theoretical concepts and translate them in real world marketable products and startup companies.

Brown has been a leader in entrepreneurial education, and several startup companies have been formed by Brown alumni.

Roots of Entrepreneurial Education

Professor Barrett Hazeltine arrived at Brown University in 1959 and for more than 50 years has been the face of entrepreneurship on the Brown campus. Formally trained as an electrical engineer, Hazeltine has taught business management classes since the mid-1960s, and served as an advocate and mentor to hundreds of students. Through his famous “Engine 9” and “Engine 90” classes and independent study projects, Hazeltine has helped inspire countless entrepreneurs. Some began by writing the business plans for their ventures in his classes, while others sought him out for advice, encouragement, or a connection. Some of the alumni and companies Professor Hazeltine has mentored include (partial list):

  • Nantucket Nectars (Beverages) – Tom First ’89 and Tom Scott ’89
  • Clearview (Software)- Steve Glenn ’87 
  • Andera (Banking software) – Charles Kroll ’01 
  • The Steel Yard (Community for Artists) – Clayton Rockefeller ’03 
  • Amie Street (now Songza) (Music distribution) – Elias Roman ’06 
  • Rip Van Wafels (Food) – Abhishek Pruisken ’10 

Read more about Barrett Hazeltine

As an emeritus professor of engineering, Barrett Hazeltine is a colossal failure. Since his so-called retirement in 1997 after thirty-eight years of teaching, the eighty-four-year-old Hazeltine has simply ignored the emeritus in his title.
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Brown's most influential teacher is also its most self-effacing. It's no exaggeration to say that engineering professor Barrett Hazeltine's Engin 9 launched more careers than any other single course. It not only introduced the study of entrepreneurship at Brown; it created thousands of entrepreneurs.
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Even if you’ve never met Barrett Hazeltine, you’ve probably heard of him. An engineering professor for the past forty years, he has, in recent decades, been known primarily for his courses in management.
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Entrepreneurial Education Today

An entrepreneur himself, engineering lecturer Danny Warshay ’87 has built and sold 16 companies (acquired by Apple, Time, and others) and has built upon the legacy set by Professor Hazeltine. He has developed and taught, ENGN1010 – The Entrepreneurial Process: Innovation in Practice, one of the highest rated courses at Brown that has enjoyed popularity with concentrators and non-concentrators alike. Several of the students in the class have gone on to win the Rhode Island Elevator Pitch Competition and the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition. The course discusses how to transform ideas into opportunities, and, through a deliberate process, opportunities into commercial realities. Some of the top companies launched from his course include Runa, Fanium, 305Fitness, Premama and Dear Kate.

Warshay has led entrepreneurship and innovation workshops in various academic, governmental and business contexts all over the world in places as diverse as Egypt, Bahrain, Portugal, China, Slovenia, and South Africa.

Read more about Danny Warshay

This past summer, during a time of great tension in Israel, I was privileged to learn from Brown University professor Danny Warshay, who has devoted his career to developing high-growth entrepreneurial ventures and to teaching aspiring entrepreneurs to do so on their own.
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