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

The Entrepreneurial Learning Institute completely rewrote my college experience, and not only showed me that my skills as a writer can be applied outside of the English department, but through independent studies and internships, it also taught me how to implement these skills in and outside of the classroom.”
Claire Tourigny, English with creative writing concentration major and business minor

ELI has given me the ability to see problems in a whole new light and develop the skills to solve these problems creatively and effectively. I feel capable and ready to handle the unexpected and show others how to do so as well!
Grace Davis, business major and psychology minor

“Having the opportunity to work with the Entrepreneurial Learning Institute at Hollins has been one of the biggest gifts in my college life. I have learned endless skills on how to be action oriented, adaptive to challenges, and most importantly how to seek opportunity within problems presented. In short, my involvement with ELI at Hollins has been the most eye-opening, engaging, and resourceful experience that I can take beyond the campus grounds.”
Zahin Mahbuba, undeclared major

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.