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Recent Developments In The Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship Education: Experiential Learning and Economic Development I

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1010.1 - 14.1010.9



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Paper Authors

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Robert Olsen Washington State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Recent Developments in the Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute Abstract

The Harold Frank Endowment supports three programs. The first is the Frank Fellows program that provides undergraduate engineering and business students with the tools and experiences needed to pursue entrepreneurial ideas. The one-year program consists of a summer program (on-campus introduction to entrepreneurship, one-week in the Silicon Valley and an internship) plus a sequence of two courses during the following academic year. The Silicon Valley program includes living in the homes of entrepreneurs and interviews with financers, founders and CEO’s. During the academic year, students participate in a course taught jointly by the Colleges of Business and Engineering and work on interdisciplinary teams to prepare both prototypes and business plans for their own entrepreneurial ideas. At end of the year each team competes in the WSU Business Plan Competition. The other parts of the program are an annual entrepreneurship workshop for graduate students and an elective course entitled, “Technology Ventures.”


In December of 2003 with funding from Mr. Harold Frank, a 1948 Electrical Engineering alumnus and founder of Applied Magnetics in Santa Barbara, CA, a trial program in engineering entrepreneurship was developed and offered to students of the College of Engineering and Architecture at Washington State University (WSU). Given its successful introduction, Mr. Frank decided to endow the Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute. It is now operated in conjunction with faculty within the WSU College of Business Entrepreneurship Program. Additional support has been provided from the College of Business entrepreneurship endowment, the Herbert B. Jones foundation (for development of the interdisciplinary senior project course), the NCIIA for support of senior level entrepreneurial projects and by smaller endowments provided by Lewis Lee and Larry McLean.

The Institute is governed by its director and an Advisory Board that consists of 10 alumni entrepreneurs located in the Silicon Valley area. Each year, this group assesses the program and makes suggestions for changes to its programs.

The goal of this program is to identify students who are interested in technological entrepreneurship and to give them the tools and experiences needed to pursue their entrepreneurial goals. A related criterion is that the student experiences should be realistic enough that they understand what it is like to actually start a business. While this goal is laudable, the program is determined just as much by its constraints as by its goal. The most important of these constraints are that:

≠ funding is limited, ≠ WSU is not located in an area known as a “hotbed” for entrepreneurship, ≠ the academic burden on heavily loaded students should not be increased substantially, ≠ students have different levels of interest in entrepreneurship.

Olsen, R. (2009, June), Recent Developments In The Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4565

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