A Minnesota State University Moorhead initiative that gives non-business students insights on how to market themselves and become entrepreneurs is a good option for the region's young people, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Friday, Feb. 24.

The Minnesota Democrat, on a tour through the northern tier of the state, called the program a practical way to teach students who have interests in wide-ranging fields, including the arts and humanities, to build a successful businesses.

"Because you can learn some great skills, but if you can't connect it with the practical skills, you're not going to do as well," Klobuchar said.

MSUM's Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is now in its fifth year of offering a minor in entrepreneurship for all academic majors, professor Kennan Meyer said.

"It allows them (non-business students) to take control of their ideas," Meyer said. "It emboldens them."

Meyer said the program is designed to help students discover new opportunities in their fields, to market themselves and their products better, and to earn more money from the start. It also encourages critical thinking, "so they can rise in the organization quicker, because they understand the process."

Two more minor programs will be added this fall in "industry analysis" and "social innovation and entrepreneurship," Meyer said.

He said only a couple of universities in the U.S. offer similar programs.

"We're really starting from ground zero in many cases," Meyer said.

MSUM President Anne Blackhurst, College of Business and Innovation Dean Marsha Weber, staff members and current and former students extolled the virtues of the entrepreneurship minor.

The mix of artists, musicians, photographers and aspiring journalists said the program has broadened their understanding of their fields and prospects.

"They're all about innovation and what's coming next," said Branson Reasor, an MSUM student who wants to be a multimedia journalist. "This class is giving me the ability to market myself."

Klobuchar said the program gives young people a leg up into the business world.

"We've reached a point in education where we know, based on the global economy, that we also want to teach kids how to be practical about what they've learned, and that's what this really is," she said. "It says, you have a dream, but we want you to pursue it in a practical way. It's a great model."