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Dan Cohen - Wake Forest University. Winston-Salem, NC, US

Dan Cohen Dan Cohen

John C. Whitaker Executive Director Wake Forest’s Entrepreneurship Program and Professor of Practice | Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC, UNITED STATES

Well-versed in entrepreneurial theory and practice, Cohen has extensive experience as an educator and practitioner.



Thirty-four percent of startups fail within the first two years and 56 percent within the first four years. Dan Cohen's IDEATE, a new method for teaching students how to discover their best startup ideas, has been proven to yield higher-quality, more innovative ideas when compared to traditional methods.

“As with poker players, inexperienced entrepreneurs have improved odds of succeeding if they start with a better hand. This means determining, before they play their hand, if their idea is sound,” he said. "With IDEATE, the endgame is to launch a successful startup that builds a student’s confidence in their ability to identify business ideas that will work.”

As the leader of the University’s entrepreneurship program and the founder and director of Wake Forest’s Startup Lab, he helps fledgling entrepreneurs refine their ideas — from product or service development to customer testing to securing investors to marketing and sales.

Areas of Expertise (3)


Social Enterprise

Business Strategy





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Education (4)

Case Western Reserve University: Ph.D., Management and Entrepreneurship

Johns Hopkins University: MBA, Business Administration and Management

George Washington University: M.A., Accounting, Finance and Taxation

Towson University: B.S., Business Administration and Marketing

Media Appearances (3)

Should You Run More Than One Company?



“Starting companies has never been cheaper,” said Dan Cohen, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University. “It used to be that you needed a physical space and a receptionist to answer the phone and then you needed a bookkeeper to pay the bills. Now there are all these online tools available, so you can work from Starbucks.”

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Spotting valuable ideas: Students make the best of entrepreneurship minor offered by Wake Forest University Center for Entrepreneurship

Winston-Salem Journal: Business and Innovation  


“It’s hard to find entrepreneurs that think their idea is bad,” Cohen said. “They all think their ideas are great. It’s good to believe in your ideas, but what really matters is what does a customer think of your idea? He explained that the old way of entrepreneurship focused on people having an idea, raising capital, building a product then putting that product in the market. “That’s a very expensive process, only to find out people don’t really want this,” he said. “They would go forward without evidence.”

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Brain change: Here’s why we all need to think like entrepreneurs

Triad Business Journal  


"The very way an entrepreneur’s brain processes the world is different from the way most of us think. And this kind of creativity and passion for finding new ways to make life better is what our recent grads and seasoned employees may be missing. That’s the bad news. The good news is we can change our brains.”

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