The MMIAM Journey

A blog about the Master of Management
in International Arts Management program

Expanding Possibilities for MMIAM Students and Graduates

Why is the MMIAM program offering a new course in Cultural Entrepreneurship?

The skills entrepreneurship education offers help managers become highly valued employees. This is because entrepreneurs perceive problems and devise solutions to them. In doing so, they create opportunities. Opportunities realized generate value for the manager themselves, but principally for the company they work for and the audiences or customers they serve. This value can potentially help their organization realize additional and higher revenues, become more sustainable with their pursuits, discover new customer segments, adapt to shifting market demands and circumstances, and potentially scale current and new endeavors. These processes and benefits are known as intrapreneurship: acting entrepreneurially within an existing organization.

Acting intrapreneurially by solving problems, devising new concepts, generating opportunities, and strategizing to reduce risks-faced in developing new ideas can enable managers to become highly valued by their employers. Being prized can result in title increases and pay raises, positive word of mouth in the community, and other market players noting the manager’s value. Acting entrepreneurially within an existing organization can generate significant success within an organization and dynamic career growth for the manager.

What are some examples of acting entrepreneurially?

Entrepreneurs have creative visions, much like artists do. In this context, creative vision is to see, with one’s mind’s eye, that which does not yet exist but can in the future, if built. Those studying entrepreneurship learn how to have creative visions by engaging in ideation, devising new entrepreneurial concepts, which draws on an inherent asset that each of us has: imagination.

Students of entrepreneurship also learn about business models. They commonly use tools such as the Business Model Canvas, a widely used tool in entrepreneurship education and by entrepreneurs worldwide. The tool helps visual learners see their plan, enabling them to map out critical aspects of a business through the nine building blocks of the Canvas.

Business Model Canvas blank
The Business Model Canvas. Copyright: Strategyzer at

A business model is how a company develops, delivers, and realizes value for others. The Business Model Canvas teaches entrepreneurs how businesses function, their own and competitors’. They are able to see how subtle adjustments within an organization’s model can lead to significant changes. Components of this canvas include:

  • Value Propositions (or proposed value)
  • Customers Relationships (how a company engages with customers)
  • Channels (how value is delivered to customers).
  • Key Resources (assets needed)
  • Key Activities (critical things companies do in the pursuit of value realization)
  • Key Partners (other companies that need to be engaged or partnered with in to realize value)
  • Revenue Streams (how money is generated)
  • Cost Structure (the perceived costs faced).

When a manager understands the organization’s business model in which they work, they can perceive new gaps, inefficiencies, and underrealized opportunities. They can identify unique value propositions the company can pursue, new channels to deliver value, potential new revenue streams and customer segments, and cost-effective means of generating new value for the organization. All of this can potentially aid an organization in having a significant impact and revenue.

Entrepreneurs are willing to take some level of risk, as they must. There are no specific outcomes. Many of the processes trained entrepreneurs engage in reduce the many risks they face when developing new ideas and building new companies. There is no guarantee one will succeed in their entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial endeavors. Most new startups fail. However, those who study entrepreneurship in the MMIAM program’s Cultural Entrepreneurship class learn to ideate. They develop numerous entrepreneurial concepts. They know how to envision new opportunities, serve customers of choice, capture value by creating new or existing business models, attract capital, and set clear and measurable goals (for self and others). They create plans.

In learning how to plan effectively, students develop a clear and deep understanding of their original creative visions. They know how the competition has structured their varied business models and effectively adapt when necessary. They come to know all facets of their idea, as though it were a three-dimensional object–seeing all sides of it. If the market changes, so can the entrepreneur, as they have thought so clearly and deeply about their concept. If they assume customers will “zig” but they “zag” instead, the entrepreneur is not thrown off course. Rather, they can quickly adjust, realizing opportunities in their new direction. Through planning, risks are reduced. When risks are lessened, the likelihood of success increases. Many of the processes described here fall under the umbrella of “entrepreneurial mindset” or thinking like an entrepreneur.

Jim Hart teaching Arts Entrepreneurship at SMU
Jim Hart teaching Arts Entrepreneurship. Credit: Kim Leeson Photography/Meadows School of the Arts

More Opportunities:

All entrepreneurs manage. They manage their team, themselves, their entrepreneurial visions, and many other aspects of their company. However, not all managers are entrepreneurs, but they can become entrepreneurs. If they do, together with the depth of managerial skills they develop in the MMIAM program, they dramatically increase their likelihood of success. The MMIAM course in Cultural Entrepreneurship helps managers become more prized employees and allows students and graduates to become dynamic entrepreneurs, if they wish, expanding their fields of possibility.


Jim Hart serves as Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University and is a faculty member of the MMIAM program, teaching Cultural Entrepreneurship. For more of Hart’s thoughts on a similar topic see his Americans for the Arts post But What Does Arts Entrepreneurship Even Mean?