Our responsibility begins on day one
In winter term 2017, the College of Business is launching its newly emerging College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, signature programing and thought leadership from the college that will positively impact innovation, startup activity and new job creation in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
"Our responsibility to educate a distinctive class of business leaders and innovators begins on day one for our students, and it also extends to those in the broader Northwest entrepreneurship ecosystem” said College of Business Dean Mitzi Montoya. “The Center promotes business development with activities and signature events to inspire students, faculty, alumni and community to build successful businesses. For our students, it presents experiences and opportunities that go beyond a traditional classroom environment to develop them into performance-driven business professionals. Our students will actively contribute to an entrepreneurial-minded peer community and benefit from the greater College of Business alumni community and regional industry partner network.”
Montoya expects to measure in years ahead how the Center positively impacts innovation, startup activity and new job creation in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, and enhances the reputation of College.
Building on a strong entrepreneurial heritage
The College of Business has a great history of innovation and entrepreneurship to build upon.
“We have a tradition, Beavers helping Beavers, that is embedded into the Center programming and stems from the original endowment from Ken Austin, an entrepreneur, an innovator, and a great community leader,” said Sandra Miller, the Center’s director. “We clearly understand that our future will be great if we build on that tradition of community.”
The eight-year-old Austin Entrepreneurship Program is the precursor to the Center, which exemplifies the long tradition of entrepreneurship at the college, and was originally funded by an endowment from OSU alumnus, A-dec cofounder and College of Business benefactor, Ken Austin.
Miller points out that the rapidly changing pace of business requires that College of Business graduates have mastered the skill of entrepreneurial thinking.
"Whether our graduating students pursue jobs in larger companies or want to launch their own company, entrepreneurial knowledge and skills will differentiate our graduates, and make them more competitive in the workplace," Miller said. "We want our students to display agility, innovation, creativity, and an entrepreneurial mindset. With the Center's experiential learning opportunities, our students will be honing these traits into the highly innovative and hard-working signature skill set of our graduates."
The Center events and programming
The emerging Center embraces and elevates numerous new activities launched by the dean this fall. For example, the Fridays in Austin professional development series in the college is a fundamental part of business students’ first-year experience and covers a broad range of business topics. The Center will host LaunchU, entrepreneurship-specific weekly programming, as part of Fridays in Austin. LaunchU activities and events include startup job fairs and internship opportunities, social mixers, business-pitch practice workshops, mentoring sessions, startup weekends and invention competitions.
The Center will also raise funds for student scholarships as well as fund business grants, provide seed capital, and support innovation competitions and student groups.
The Launch Academy pillar of the Center, a competitive and cohort-based model of entrepreneurship education, provides deeper support by creating a peer community of selected entrepreneurial-minded students and a series of activities that promote applied learning, working on teams, being competitive, and ultimately, student success.
Ultimately, LaunchU, Launch Academy and other Center programming create a pipeline to Launch Corps, startup services that support MBA students who have business ventures. As they progress through OSU’s Innovation Management MBA, students in Launch Corps will be connected to resources that will help turn their startup ideas into reality. Those resources include mentors in areas such as marketing, accounting and finance; office space at the college’s new Portland headquarters at WeWork, a co-working community for multiple ventures and startups, services, equipment and related amenities; and access to investors and to the OSU’s business incubator, the Advantage Accelerator.
“If you believe that ‘it takes a village’ then the Center is that village – providing the programs and knowledge, engaging OSU alumni and business partners to foster a robust network and making connections to the resources needed to achieve entrepreneurial excellence,” Miller said.