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Student winner of the 2019 Innovation Challenge.

Becoming an Entrepreneur

Through dynamic classes, unique opportunities, and powerful mentorship, we invite you to join the next generation of entrepreneurs. You'll combine the power of the liberal arts with your own drive for innovation. (And of course, there's always a chance you'll win several thousand dollars along the way.)

Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

(formerly The Encompass Distinction Program)

Combine the power of the liberal arts with your own drive for innovation! The Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship builds on a liberal arts tradition to develop the core qualities of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. They pursue the education, opportunities and support they need to become the new generation of innovators.

The Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship includes:

  • Minors: the Entrepreneurship minor and the Marketing minor

  • Special Opportunities: the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge, mini-grants, computer hackathon partnerships, and more

  • Mentorship: guidance from our entrepreneur-in-residence, connections with successful alumni, and more!

Through dynamic classes, unique opportunities, and powerful mentorship, the Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship will prepare you for 21st century careers that require innovation, perseverance, and self-starting.

Academic Programs That Innovate Big Ideas in the Classroom Explore Your Interests

Sculpture outside of Hoover Library with students in background.

Entrepreneurship Minor

Students in the Entrepreneurship Minor develop their passion into purposeful next steps by understanding and practicing the skills of entrepreneurs and appreciating the types of innovation that foster successful enterprises. Students take core courses that build their appreciation of risk and managing failure, while fully utilizing their liberal arts foundation. 

Memorial Bell in Spring.

Marketing Minor

Today’s marketers shape the products and perceptions of the 21st century economy. McDaniel’s marketing minor is a professional, interdisciplinary program using both traditional classroom and immersive, experiential learning.  Develop skills in areas such as market research, strategy, consumer behavior, social media, and digital marketing. 

Jennifer Yang headshot

Mentorship at Work Meet Jennifer Yang: Our Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Jennifer Yang brings more than 23 years of consulting experience at Fortune 50 companies, start-up ventures, and federal agencies to the entrepreneurship community on the Hill. Her passion for innovation has led to her mentoring and supporting students as they develop their own business plans.

Yang supported the start-up and growth of Battle Resource Management, Inc, earning them a spot on the Inc. 500 ranking list and two federal government small business achievement awards. She also is a founding member of multiple entrepreneurial ventures: Inflexion, LLC., TasteBuds Events, LLC, Teardrops to Rainbows (non-profit), and, most recently, Covalent Spirits, LLC., a craft distillery located on Main Street in Westminster, MD.

Javon Spencer and Jennifer Yang

Put Your Ideas to the Test The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge (formerly Innovation Challenge) is an integral part of the Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Working in teams over the course of a semester, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge invites students from any major to develop business plans and a pitch for an innovative solution to a real world problem. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge Training Program, a five-week program, leads up to the competition and is designed to develop student entrepreneurial ideas. 

On the evening of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge, pitches are judged by a panel of real-life entrepreneurs and teams get the chance to win start-up cash with their pitches.


Swimmer diving in to the pool for laps.

Sertified: An Innovation Challenge Success

In 2018, Owen Long, a Psychology major from Hanover, Pa., and sophomore Justin Arter of Waldorf, Md., competed in The Innovation Challenge with their business idea, Sertified.

Sertified tackles the lack of American Red Cross certified lifeguard instructors in northern Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania. Instructors “pop-up” at local pools to provide courses to those in the area.

Although Owen and Justin didn't win first-place, they took their $3,000 second-prize start-up funding and developed the business. Today? Sertified is thriving. 

McDaniel College alumna Danielle Rowlett Tate '03

Danielle Rowlett Tate ’03

The last thing newly married Danielle Rowlett Tate ’03 expected to become at the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles was an entrepreneur, but that’s where her booming online business, MissNowMrs, was conceived.

Hacking Your Way to the Top

Interested in building your own app? 

Participate in the annual Carroll County Hackathon, hosted by MAGIC. Over the course of a weekend, you'll receive lessons that will allow you to build an app in one weekend. Tech experts and entrepreneurs provide mentorship and assistance to help you bring your ideas to life. And at the end of the weekend, teams showcase the applications they build to a team of judges. It's just another way we prepare you for professional success.