The Emerging Entrepreneur Institute


Want to formally be recognized as an Entrepreneurial Thinker, Innovator, and/or Founder? The Emerging Entrepreneur Institute offers three tiers of formal entrepreneurial support programming, training, and assessment resulting in certifications issued by the Crews Center for Entrepreneurship that you can add to your resume or office wall.

Tier 1: Entrepreneurial Thinker 

The first step on any quality entrepreneurial journey is developing an entrepreneurial mindset. Even if you have lots of ideas and energy and desire to start, chances are there are some things you could probably learn about what it means not just to be an entrepreneur, but what it is to think like one by looking at the world through an entrepreneurial lens. Entrepreneurs think, act and view the world differently than "normal" people. They have different values and they perceive things like risk, failure, culture and leadership differently than most. Register now for our Entrepreneurial Thinker certificate program, complete the requirements, and earn a Certificate of Training from the University of Memphis Crews Center for Entrepreneurship!

Great for

  • All University of Memphis students who want a competitive edge in the job market 
  • Students new to entrepreneurship who want to get their feet wet by learning a little more
  • Students passionate about starting their entrepreneurial journey immediately


  • Acquire and practice a key portion of the 21st century skill set (skills that are in demand by employers)
  • Develop attitudes, values and ways of thinking that support an entrepreneurial career path
  • Explore entrepreneurship in a supportive environment with people that are just like you

Tier 2: Innovator

After acuiring and/or sharpening your entpreneurial mindset, the next best area to advance your expertise is to learn how entrepreneurs develop and pursue innovative and disruptive business models. It's important to understand that you don't have to be a scientist to innovate! Innovation comes in many different forms. For example, think about AirBnB; they completely disrupted the hospitality industry. Did they invent some new type of property or hotel? No, not really; they invented a new business model using properties they don't own or control. That business model, that reimagination of how hospitality could be done based on the existing needs of travelers, was the innovation that they brought to the market. This tier of the program is still in development and is expected to launch in Fall 2022. 

Great for

  • Students who have completed Tier 1 training and want to advance their entrpreneurial skills and expertise
  • Students who have compelling ideas but don't quite know where to start
  • Students who wish to pursue innovation-related jobs in either the corporate or startup world


  • Learn key innovation concepts, methods and skills
  • Learn how to effectively recognize opportunities
  • Learn how to validate ideas and opportunities, minimizing risk
  • Learn how to develop a product or service

Tier 3: Founder

For students that have developed a compelling idea and have completed Tiers 1 and/or 2, it's time to launch what you've created and validated! Startup founders have a rich network of support and resources available to them both at the Crews Center and in the Memphis community. Let us help you navigate through the launch and initial growth of your company; we don't take equity, so you don't have to worry about that. Our services are always free to UofM students. This tier of the program is still in development and is expected to launch in Fall 2022. 

Great for

  • Students who intend to or already have launched a company and want to start generating revenue or increase existing revenues
  • Students who want to grow an existing side-hustle or main-hustle


  • Learn what makes a company or nonprofit worthy of investment or funding
  • Learn early-stage strategies for marketing, finance, sales, product development and more
  • Learn how to create and deliver a compelling investor pitch
  • Establish a legal form that protects you and your company from liability
  • Receive personalized guidance from professionals and mentors