of Business Communications Feature
College Participates in Key Entrepreneurial Initiatives
Business innovation and entrepreneurship in the College of Business got a boost in June (2003) when two key entrepreneurial initiatives were officially launched.
State of Illinois Initiative
Late in the month, Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich announced the opening of the Illini Entrepreneurship Center, the second facility to open within the state's new Entrepreneurship Center Network. Illini EC, as the center is known, is a regional hub for coordinating all small business development, entrepreneurship training and entrepreneurship development activity, building on the existing infrastructure in the Champaign-Urbana community, surrounding area, and campus.
Notes the press release from the governor's office: "Illini EC will not duplicate existing services; rather, it will serve as an umbrella organization to coordinate services and programs currently available, as well as provide targeted accelerated services to those companies that have high growth potential. Partnering with UIUC will allow the Illini EC and the entrepreneurs it serves to tap into the abundance of resources and know-how already in place in a public university setting, thereby enhancing the long-term growth and viability of these young companies."
The College of Business and some of its students will play key roles in the development of Illini EC and in offering services to regional entrepreneurs. Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Development Dinesh Ahluwalia is the interim director and MBA students active in CED will provide early staffing resources for Illini EC, which is housed in the Urbana-Champaign campus' research park and incubator in the EnterpriseWorks Building.
Kauffman Foundation Awards College Planning Grant
The Missouri-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation awarded the College of Business a $50,000 planning grant to, according to the June press release, "transform campus life so that entrepreneurship is as integral and natural a part of the college experience as dorms, cramming for exams, and parties." The College is one of fifteen universities to receive planning grants to develop full proposals; five to seven universitites will be awarded grants up to $5 million to make "entrepreneurship training and experiences available across college departments and to students of diverse disciplines."
The Kauffman Foundation has a decade of experience in advancing entrepreneurship education at US universities. According to the Foundation's website, more than 1,500 colleges and universities offer some form of entrepreneurship training, usually in schools and colleges of business. The foundation supports spreading the entrepreneurial message beyond the borders of business colleges and wants to "engag[e] the next generation of thought leaders in every discipline, from life sciences to liberal arts..."
Proposals are due in December. Coordinating the College's efforts is Paul Magelli, director of OSBI Consulting.