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Our students, faculty, alumni, and staff are changing the world through entrepreneurial action.

2019-2020 Annual Report about approach

Innovation Through Entrepreneurial Action

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There’s never been a more important time for innovation. The world faces complex social, health, and environmental challenges—and we know Duke faculty, students, staff, and alumni can help solve these challenges.

At Duke we believe our community can change the world through entrepreneurial action, the ability to realize innovation and effect change. Entrepreneurial action is for everyone: students, faculty, staff, and alumni across all disciplines and industries.

We believe experiential education and interdisciplinary collaboration are vital to the work of helping Duke innovators to discover their ideas, develop them, and deliver them to the world.

By drawing in key components of interrelated fields too often overlooked in entrepreneurship education, we help Duke innovators maximize the value and success of their work.


Incorporating key elements of the human-centered design process into entrepreneurial education helps provide innovators with a deep grasp of customer needs and human impact. Through a cycle of communication, understanding, evaluation, and creation, they’re empowered to think boldly and creatively in the face of uncertainty.


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Many people do the wrong thing not because they intend to, but because they haven’t considered the issues involved. Ethical frameworks help innovators overcome challenges with courage, confidence, and resilience. By teaching character, values, principles, goals, and consequences, we help tomorrow’s leaders be skilled, thoughtful agents of change.


Students from Duke and NCCU pose for a group photo at a Durham Soup event

With our rich history of supporting social entrepreneurs on the frontlines of social change, Duke has become a leader in the study and practice of social innovation and entrepreneurship. Drawing elements from this field into a broad range of programming results in more thoughtful innovators and innovations that create more positive impact in the world.

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