Entrepreneurial Learning Institute

Classroom photo

Hollins University’s new Entrepreneurial Learning Institute (ELI) combines the hallmarks of a liberal arts education—critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, and leadership—with the entrepreneurial spirit and mindset that are driving opportunity and business growth in the 21st century.


“Through ELI, students from all majors and minors have an opportunity to align a diverse set of classes with programs and experiences that foster collaboration and generate innovative solutions, thus connecting academic work with practical application.”
Karen Messer-Bourgoin
Director, Entrepreneurial Learning Institute
Professor of Practice, Economics and Business Department



What Makes Entrepreneurship Different at Hollins?

Hollins University’s Entrepreneurial Learning Institute takes a deeper approach to entrepreneurship that goes beyond venture-based businesses, and benefits students from all majors through collaboration across the curriculum. Students have access to:

What Our Students SaY

“I hope to own a veterinary practice one day, and a foundation in entrepreneurship will help me reach my goals.”
Leslie Giorgetti ’20
Biology and Business Double Major

“My father is starting a business to supply miners in Zimbabwe and Botswana, and the institute will help prepare me for a role in the family business.”
Kealeboga Kanyenda ’20
Psychology Major

“I never considered becoming an entrepreneur, because I used to think starting your own business was scary. But after learning about the institute, I’m interested in the opportunities that entrepreneurship present.”
Elsie Uwera ’22

Meet Karen Messer-Bourgoin

Photo of Karen Messer-BourgoinKaren Messer-Bourgoin experienced a successful business career occupying positions ranging from Wall Street to Main Street. Her practical experience serves as a framework for academic subject matter that is beneficial for traditional students, particularly as it relates to real world applications and job placement.