Education: The "secret sauce"
Campus celebrates opening of Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence at USU
The Herald Journal
By Kevin Opsahl
Students, faculty and administrators at Utah State University gathered Wednesday for the grand opening of the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.
Officials touted the center, designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs from the community and across the university — not just business majors — create new enterprises. It will offer them assistance with business plan development, branding, website design and securing start-up capital, among other things. The center will focus on not just technology startups but also on startups across many academic disciplines.
“To me, entrepreneurship is all about passion, discovery ... living your destiny, not somebody else’s; making your fortune, not somebody else’s,” said Jim Davis, management department head at the Huntsman School of Business, in remarks to attendees at the center’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Utah leads the country in start-ups, but we also lead the country in failures, and we’ve got to fix that. The right education ... increases the chances of a successful launch. Education is the ‘secret sauce’ to launching a sustainable business.”
The new center created a Founders’ Board, which will consist of a “brain trust” of successful entrepreneurs who will function as mentors and supporters. This board will help new companies with advice, workshops, expertise and contacts.
Officials at the center will mold the development of the curriculum for undergraduate and graduate programs and for a minor in entrepreneurship for non-business majors. The programs and activities offered will allow students to “bridge the gap between formal classroom education (knowing) and real-world experience (doing),” said the school’s dean, Douglas Anderson.
The center’s director, Mike Glauser, explained the reason behind offering services to non-business majors by saying, “Studies show that the more diverse a team is the more likely that venture is to succeed.”
The center will offer an MBA in enterprise development, which will launch in August, and video-based online programs officials hope will attract curious students nationwide.
More than a dozen students attended the ceremony.
“It will give students a chance to branch out and be innovators,” said Brad Singer, a junior majoring in communications and business. “And that’s important in an economy where we are struggling, and it’s daunting to find a job.”
In addition, the center will offer a series of free weekly lectures for the community and students featuring top entrepreneurs. The founders of the Logan-based smart tech cover designers, iFrogz, started things off with a lecture Wednesday night.
The center was approved by the USU Board of Trustees last year and will be located on the second floor of the George S. Eccles Business Building until the facility undergoes renovation.
House Bill 4 — the General Obligations and Bonds Authorizations bill passed during the 2011 legislative session — will add about 85,000 square feet to the school and be located just south of the current George S. Eccles Business Building.
“I hope you feel a sense of excitement of where we’re going,” USU President Stan Albrecht told attendees. “This is a very significant step forward.”