Entrepreneurship & Innovation

What is an Entrepreneur?

One who:

  1. Organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise
  2. Shatters the status quo to create new products and services
  3. Finds innovative solutions to social problems through a profit-driven enterprise
  4. Searches for change, responds to it, and exploits opportunities. Converts a source into a resource
  5. Identifies a need-any need- and fills it
  6. Undertakes innovation


The creation and use of better or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments, and society

The Finstad Program for Entrepreneurial Studies

This program is dedicated to the advancement of education, research and service in entrepreneurship within the St. Olaf Community by providing entrepreneurial grants and academic courses.

With the shifting economy and rapidly changing markets, entrepreneurial skills are more important than ever before. The Finstad Program works to provide the St. Olaf community with the expertise, experience, and entrepreneurial spirit they need to thrive, whether starting a new business or working within an established organization, whether for-profit or not-for-profit. This program provides an unparalleled learning experience in entrepreneurial practice.

The Finstad Program for Entrepreneurial Studies was established in 1992 with a major gift from the Paul and Anne Finstad and other St. Olaf alumni and, to date, has given more than $500,000 to over 180 students to begin new ventures.

The program also works closely with the student entrepreneurial club on campus, Ole Ventures. Find out ways to get involved!


Entrepreneurial Grants. The Grant program awards grants up to $3,000 to individual students or teams to launch sustainable enterprises that create value – commercial, social, artistic and/or scientific. Funds are awarded to students for entrepreneurial projects with social and economic potential.

Mayo Innovation Scholars Program. Founded by John Meslow ’60, the program offers undergraduate science and economics majors to evaluate projects submitted to the Mayo Office of Intellectual Property, the arm of Mayo responsible for evaluating potential business opportunities for discoveries and inventions created by Mayo Clinic physicians and researchers.

Academic Courses. The Finstad Program offers two entrepreneurial classes through the Management Studies Program in the Economics Department: Principles of Entrepreneurship and New Venture Formulation. Both courses include a large experiential component.