Concord University Entrepreneurship Initiative
"Preparing students for future success following college graduation is a major goal of Concord University’s (CU) new Entrepreneurship Initiative." - Dr. Pokharel
The purpose of the Entrepreneurship Initiative is to instill in students a vigorous entrepreneurial mindset, enabling them to be job creators as well as effective job seekers. Moreover, these days, corporations prefer to hire new employees who have more than one academic field of excellence and who can think entrepreneurially. Innovation and entrepreneurship are becoming the mantra for hiring agencies in both private and public sectors. The Entrepreneurship Initiative will equip students to either find or create jobs.
The initiative will create opportunities and make space available for students to contemplate business ideas and it will propel business idea generation (BIG). It will also prepare students who have business ideas to effectively participate in the West Virginia Statewide Business Plan Competition and to take advantage of the West Virginia University-created entrepreneurial infrastructure in the State of West Virginia.
CU is already shining in the business plan competition. Concord student Robbie Parker was one of 10 finalists in the 2013 WV Statewide Business Plan Competition.
The initiative will complement the current business symposium series, which brings in successful business leaders as guest speakers several times a year, with its new Meet the CEO/Entrepreneur program. This will be a forum for students to meet individuals who have successfully started businesses and to hear their entrepreneurial experiences. The Meet the CEO/Entrepreneur program will create a forum for sharing business knowledge and pertinent information. This knowledge exchange will create a win-win relationship between the initiative’s participants and local and regional entrepreneurs.
Another part of the Initiative is the Student Entrepreneurship Club. This will be a venue to unleash the power of creative ideas. Many world changing ideas have emerged in social settings such as coffee shops where people shared ideas and exchanged their thoughts.
Concord Business Challenge (CBC)
College students aren’t the only ones expected to benefit from the Entrepreneurship Initiative. The endeavor also offers outreach opportunities for regional high school students. The Initiative will enhance the Concord Business Challenge (CBC), a popular competition for regional high school students sponsored by Concord’s Division of Business each fall. Celebrating its 20th year in October 2013, the CBC draws hundreds of student competitors from West Virginia and Virginia.
In the near future, the CBC will have a component of entrepreneurship to inspire and entice students of neighboring high schools to pursue the entrepreneurship program at Concord University. To make student participation more effective, Concord University has already instituted a rapid Entrepreneurship Course for regional high school business teachers.
The first entrepreneurship training for teachers was held at Concord in June 2013. Hosted by the Division of Business, the seminar was structured to provide high school business teachers with enhanced knowledge about entrepreneurship so they can incorporate that information into courses they teach to better prepare their students to participate in newly developed high school level statewide business plan competitions.
Dr. Pokharel and other faculty members in Concord’s Division of Business who are currently involved in the Entrepreneurship Initiative have been collaborating in developing an entrepreneurship minor in addition to the summer teachers’ training program. Plans also call for bringing additional faculty from disciplines across campus onboard.
Concord's Academic Programs
Concord University currently offers a Bachelor of Science in business administration with areas of emphasis in accounting, administrative systems, finance, management and marketing, and a Bachelor of Science in education with a teaching certification in business education, 5-Adult.
Along with benefitting Concord’s academic programs through student and faculty engagement, the Entrepreneurship Initiative is anticipated to make a positive impact on the regional economic and business climate and to offer outreach opportunities for regional students.
The initiative will serve as an entrepreneurial information hub for local entrepreneurs, as it collaborates with federal and state small business development offices, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the other entrepreneurial centers of various universities to gain and disseminate pertinent information. The Initiative will serve as both a pipe (transmitting) and prism (tailoring and amplifying) of entrepreneurial knowledge for local economic development. The initiative will be a transmission of entrepreneurial knowledge for local economic development. This will be performed through faculty-guided student research that addresses the questions and issues of local entrepreneurs. This will be a great vehicle for student involvement and faculty engagement in kindling entrepreneurial interest in our students.
An official launch event for the Initiative was held at Concord on September 9, 2013. Dr. Kendra Boggess, Concord’s interim president, provided the welcome address. She said the Initiative “can create a lot of opportunities for students,” and stated, “I am passionate about it. I think many of our students want to be their own boss.”
Dr. Rebecca White, the James W. Walter Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Tampa, served as keynote speaker. A 1978 graduate of Concord, she is also the immediate past president of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE). Dr. White, who spoke on “The current movement of entrepreneurship education in the USA and beyond”, commented that schools like Concord are taking a leadership role in entrepreneurship education.
Additional speakers at the launch included: Judy McCauley, Director, SBA District Office, WV; Mindy Walls, Advisor, SBDC; Steve Cutright, Director, BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Concord student Robbie Parker, who was recognized for being among 10 finalists in the 2013 WV Statewide Business Plan Competition; Billy Pantili, a local business owner; and, Chris Tuck, an attorney and a member of the Montgomery County (Va.) Board of Supervisors. Both Pantili and Tuck are Concord alums and members of the Entrepreneurship Initiative’s advisory board. Other advisory board members are Patty McCormick and Herb McClugherty.
Other participants included federal and state Small Business Development Office representatives, local business owners, representatives of regional chambers of commerce, corporate representatives and officials from the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at West Virginia University.
Dr. Mohan P. Pokharel, Assistant Professor of Management at Concord, serves as the Shott Chair of Entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneurship Initiative is made possible through support from the Shott Foundation and other resources. The home base for the endeavor is the Nick Rahall Technology Center on the Athens campus of Concord University.
For more information on the Entrepreneurship Initiative, contact Dr. Mohan Pokharel at (304) 384-5247 or firstname.lastname@example.org.