Entrepreneurship center approved by committeee

Shawntaye Hopkins

Students, faculty and staff with an idea or business plan might soon get some additional help.

The Board of Regents academic committee approved on Friday the creation of a Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The center will hold its first seminar at the Carroll Knicely Institute for Economic Development on April 30.

Raja Bhattacharya, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said he does not predict any problems getting the center approved by the full Board of Regents at their April 30 meeting.

The center will initially focus on students, faculty and staff on campus who want to start a new business, Bhattacharya said. But it will eventually expand beyond the Western community as resources grow.

The center will collaborate with the Small Business and Development Center and the Innovation and Commercialization Center, entrepreneurship professor Leo Simpson said. The center will refer clients to those centers if necessary.

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will also work with the Chamber of Commerce when it expands into the region, Simpson said.

Office space and a reception area for the center will be created in Grise Hall, he said.

The purpose of the center is to promote an entrepreneurial spirit at Western, Simpson said.

“The primary goal is to internally raise entrepreneurial awareness among WKU students,” he said.

Aspiring entrepreneurs will be able to come to the center to get help with developing business plans, financing a business or creating a marketing plan, said Robert Jefferson, dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business. Current business owners will also be able to get support from the center.

The center will be available to anybody in any discipline who wants to learn how to be an entrepreneur, Jefferson said.

But creating and maintaining businesses will not be the center’s only function.

The center is also intended to support entrepreneurial thinking, which is creative and innovative, said Simpson.

“The entrepreneurial spirit is bigger than just creating a business,” he said.

The seminar, “Starting a Successful Venture,” will be geared primarily toward students who are interested in entrepreneurship. Several local entrepreneurs will speak at the session.

There is no cost for the seminar, but space is limited to 80 participants.

Students who are interested in the seminar should contact Bhattacharya in the office of management and information systems.

The registration deadline is tomorrow.

The seminar is the first of several that will be held next academic year on other topics involving entrepreneurship, Bhuttacharya said.

Simpson said the cost of the center will be minimal because Western is partnering with agencies, such as the ICC and Economic Development Center, who will share some costs.

The Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation also awarded a grant to the center for $4,500 to develop students’ entrepreneurial spirits.

Others in the community may also provide assistance, Simpson said.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]