Learn to launch a new venture or start-up

Entrepreneurial mindsets have driven many of the greatest innovations of the modern world. In Duquesne University's Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship (GC-ENTR) program, you'll hone skills essential to launch a start-up or expand your impact within an existing business. Here, you'll develop your knack for pushing the boundaries of the expected, for innovating in the face of barriers, and for compelling others to collaborate toward your vision for the future. Your entrepreneurial mindset and business management skills will set you apart in the eyes of employers and investors who will identify your competitive potential.

Strive for new heights in entrepreneurship and innovation with a Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Duquesne University. These flexible entrepreneurship courses equip you to expand your business management skills, connect with creative minds, and launch new projects or start-ups-all while maintaining a schedule that works for you.

Graduate Viewbook

What makes Duquesne's program stand out?

The Palumbo-Donahue School of Business is located near downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a growing hub of entrepreneurship and innovation. This city fosters a thriving environment for both new firms and technology giants-and at Duquesne, our entrepreneurial business courses take full advantage of our location.

During your certificate program, you will create, invent, and learn in our state-of-the-art Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship. Our ideation suite, the Louis D. Mallet Entrepreneurship Zone, is an inspirational and collaborative environment that promotes idea generation, group learning, problem solving, and business planning. Take advantage of our leading-edge technology, writable glass boards, and flexible meeting spaces that enhance conversation and discussion.

Bob's Launch Pad is our maker space, a hands-on area where you develop, design, and prototype everything from new physical products to online business platforms. Explore state-of-the-art tools for taking your ideas from concept to reality, such as high-level software, a 3D printer, and a laser engraver for rapidly prototyping new products.

Explore more about the Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship. Request more info, attend an information session or apply now!


Program Information

Strive for new heights in entrepreneurship and innovation with a Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Duquesne University. These flexible entrepreneurship courses equip you to expand your business management skills.



Required Credit Hours


More in this Program

From Our Students

Natalie Merlina

"Through the Entrepreneurship Certificate curriculum, I have been able to apply advanced skills and techniques to my small business. Thanks to the professors’ and staff’s guidance and insight, I’m equipped with tools that will help me lead my team and business to success."

Natalie Merlina Professional MBA & Entrepreneurship Certificate, Fall 2023

Entrepreneurial Curriculum

Sharpen your skills in entrepreneurship and innovation with Duquesne's 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship. Our curriculum equips you with a solid foundation in business ideation, management skills, and law through flexible, hybrid business courses designed for entrepreneurs. In addition to growing your expertise, you'll have access to Duquesne's robust professional network in Pittsburgh, PA and around the world.

Curriculum and Course Descriptions

All courses are offered in a hybrid format with online and in-person requirements.

3 credit hours, offered fall only 

Opportunity recognition and exploitation are an important component of the entrepreneurial process. In this course, students will learn the basics of opportunity recognition and exploitation, including applying design thinking in identifying pertinent stakeholders, overcoming likely market and legal roadblocks and building the entrepreneurial team. Students will develop a feasibility analysis for a new start-up venture or a corporate venture within their existing organization. As part of the feasibility analysis, students will learn how to conduct a "voice of the customer" analysis to properly vet their idea. Lastly, students can "road test" their feasibility analysis by participating in the Pittsburgh Start-up Weekend and/or Duquesne University New Venture Challenge (DNVC). Hybrid.
3 credit hours, offered fall only

New ventures require the application of managerial discipline across all functions. In this course, students will learn how to integrate all business functions – marketing, finance, operations, human resources, information systems, accounting, etc. – into a start-up or corporate new venture. As part of the learning process, students will transform their feasibility analysis to a working business plan by conducting industry and market research, identifying and then engaging initial stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, etc. To facilitate this process students will apply critical tools such as a business model canvas (BMC), minimal viable product (MVP), etc. Pre-Requisite: ENTR 601 for level GR with a minimum grade of C (may be taken concurrently). Online.
3 credit hours, offered spring only 

Students will evaluate legal entity choices (partnership, corporation, or LLC), capital structure (debt/equity), tax elections (e.g., S corporation), and co-owner protections. Legal options related to intellectual property (IP) protection (e.g., copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secret law) as well as key IP protection forms (e.g., non-disclosure, invention assignment, and employee confidentiality agreements) will be reviewed. Students will learn about early-stage funding and how to engage investors, including understanding initial stakeholders and applying relevant legal terminology (e.g., preferred stock provisions, liquidation preferences, dividends, voting rights, ratchets, and waivers of director conflict of interest). Finally, this course will review legal and regulatory matters (e.g., complying with SEC filings), as well as the basics of contract law. Pre-Requisite: ENTR 601 for level GR with a minimum grade of C. Online, Hybrid.
3 credit hours, offered spring only 

Start-ups, as well as larger firms, face a variety of marketing and sales challenges when commercializing new products or services. This course focuses on marketing fundamentals, market research, and sales force planning and execution in an entrepreneurial environment. Developing a marketing plan and identifying initial customers is another major milestone, both in new ventures and existing firms launching new products or services. In this course, students learn how to translate business plans into actionable sales and marketing strategies and tactics. They also learn the first steps to take to initially engage customers, which could include piloting, prototyping and/or co-developing a product/service. Students will also learn how to develop pro forma financial projections that include marketing and sales analyses.
prerequisite: ENTR-601 Ideation Adventure. Hybrid. 
3 credit hours, offered summer only 

This project-based signature course gives students the tools to develop and present actionable business plans. Students will be put into teams based on their interests and goals, then work online and use video conferencing technology to create a business plan for either a new start-up or for the launch of a new product/service within an existing firm. At the end of the semester, students come to campus for a live “pitch experience.” Each team submits a written business plan and makes a live presentation to a panel of judges followed by Q&A. Students will be given guidance about how to organize their presentations and have a copy of the judges’ rubrics for evaluation. In essence, this parallels the process found in the Duquesne New Venture Challenge (DNVC) business plan competition. Online, Hybrid. 

Entrepreneurship Resources

  • Duquesne's Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers no-cost, confidential consulting services and training workshops in southwestern Pennsylvania to empower you with the knowledge you need to start, grow, and prosper in your small business.
  • BlueTree Allied Angels, Western Pennsylvania's leading angel network, partners with Duquesne University to create a pathway for financial assistance to new companies. This members-only group of accredited investors focuses on promising start-ups and up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
  • Duquesne New Venture Challenge is a three-stage business plan competition with cash and service prizes valued at over $100,000.