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Creative business minds flourish in Susanna Khavul’s popular entrepreneurship classes. “Many students want to own businesses, but others aren’t so sure,” says the assistant professor of strategic management, entrepreneurship, and innovation in the College of Business. “My classes are personal; they are about a unique entrepreneur in each person.”

Dr. Khavul, who notes that the cost of starting a business is dropping, stresses a customer-focused approach. “Students work on feasibility studies for new ventures. But this is not desk research or a flight of the imagination. Students seek out potential customers, understand their needs, and figure out how to serve them.”

Ideas are as diverse as the students themselves. A recent student with a social work background proposed a service to help families untangle the bewildering array of elder-care options. “This had significant traction with potential customers,” says Khavul, who won the UT Arlington President’s Award for Teaching Excellence this year. But not every idea is an opportunity, and students grill each other as the discovery process unfolds. “Students love it because the aim is to build a robust, more vibrant business that can stand up to scrutiny beyond the campus.”

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