Graduate Certificate In Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Jump-Start Your Startup

Follow your passion. Be your own boss. Launch your startup.

Elmhurst’s graduate certificate in innovation and entrepreneurship is designed for students interested in:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Intrapreneurship (the process of being innovative within an existing organization)

The program focuses on developing the skills necessary to create and implement new ideas for businesses or new ventures within existing businesses.

Flexible Program Format

This part-time program features our signature EU Flex class format. You choose how you want to experience the class—100% online, on-site at our campus in Chicago’s western suburbs, or a blend of both.

This is a graduate certificate on your terms. Online students are welcome to visit our campus for classes or meetings. In addition, all lectures are recorded so you can customize your studies to your schedule and your priorities.

Required Courses

Students must complete four courses. Each course is eight weeks in length. The program can be completed in one year.

This course focuses on the comprehensive process of formulating a new business venture. It focuses on the methodology of transforming an idea into a business. Key topics covered include: self-assessment, entrepreneurial makeup, the startup process, customer discovery, customer validation, scaling a business idea, and building a company.

This course focuses on why and how marketing and sales is critical to any start-up and small business. It covers how marketing drives a company’s brand image and awareness of its products and how sales drives revenue and profits. A key component of the course is how marketing and sales must work together in order for a company to be successful. Key topics include identifying the market needs and target audiences, determining which offline and digital marketing channels reach the different audiences, and how marketing and sales move prospects through the sales funnel to become leads, buyers and repeat buyers. Data collection, reporting, analysis and tracking key metrics to test the effectiveness of marketing programs will also be closely examined. Many case studies will be discussed so students experience real world examples of how marketing and sales impacts a start-up venture. Students will then take all these learnings and start developing their own marketing and sales business plans.

This course focuses on intrapreneurship—making existing organizations more innovative. It considers how to make individuals, teams, and departments more creative and then on how to implement approved ideas. Key topics covered include ideation, organizational culture, innovation strategy, incentivizing innovation, working in teams, economic analysis, managing change, the implementation of ideas, and the measurement and monitoring of innovation in organizations.

This course focuses on the entrepreneur (or intrapreneur) who is ready to develop an executable business plan for the purpose of a new business opportunity with an innovative product, process or service. The entrepreneur will develop a business plan for acquiring human, financial and other required resources, and will be responsible for its success or failure. Within the entrepreneurship ecosystem, we will consider government programs and services for entrepreneurs, not-for-profit resources, such as incubators and accelerators; education, training and financing (loans, venture capital, and grants). The business plan will include all key components, including: an executive summary, company description, market analysis, competitive analysis, description of the leadership team and organization, operations, financial plan, products and services, marketing plan and sales strategy.

How to Apply

To apply for the graduate certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, start the online graduate application. The application deadline for the Fall Term is August 15.

For more information, contact the Office of Admission at (630) 617-3400 or

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Program Highlights

Experienced Faculty and Mentors

At Elmhurst, you will learn from faculty who have launched businesses of their own, including Mark Heintz, founder of X9Y Consulting Group, Michael Medema, CEO and founder of Keono, and Dan Heck, founder of Bluefuse LLC. You’ll also learn from Program Director Bruce Fischer, who brings years of management expertise to the role.

Tap Into Elmhurst’s E-celerator

Boost your entrepreneurial spirit through guidance, coaching and mentoring from our Entrepreneur in Residence, Patrick Yanahan. In addition, the Elmhurst Entrepreneurs Initiative features a speaker series and many other opportunities to network and exchange ideas.

Innovation DuPage

The Innovation DuPage logo.Innovation DuPage (ID) is a business incubator serving DuPage County, Illinois. Its mission is to unite startup founders and small business owners with the people, resources and programs that help them grow. As an academic partner, Elmhurst and its students have access to ID facilities, services and more.


Bruce Fischer, Ph.D.

Professor, Management; Program Director, Master of Project Management; Program Director, Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Department of Business and Economics

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