Apr 072003
Authors: Amy Bergstrom

The people of the Entrepreneurship Center at CSU want students to learn more than the theories of business. They want them to learn how to do business.

The center seeks to bring students first-hand experience working in the business world, through its Venture Adventure business plan competition, the Students in Free Enterprise club and by bringing speakers to campus through the Great Entrepreneur speaker series.

The mission of the center is three-fold: to provide curriculum to students, to promote new product realization and to build community links, said Hunt Lambert, director of the center.

An indication of students’ increased interest in entrepreneurship is marked through an increased demand for entrepreneurship courses.

Lambert says that demand has approximately doubled for the series of entrepreneurship classes offered by the College of Business, BN340, Entrepreneurship in the Contemporary World, BN420, New Venture Creation, and BN440, New Venture Management.

“I think a lot of people recognize from the boom in the ’90s that you can go (be an entrepreneur),” he said.

Justin Odneal, president of SIFE and a junior in computer information systems, said that many students are seeking an opportunity to be their own boss.

“I think a lot of people on campus, if you ask them, will say they don’t want to work for someone else,” he said. “It’s important to let people know about entrepreneurship.”

The Great Entrepreneur speaker series addresses the first part of the center’s mission. Sponsored by SIFE, the program has brought several successful entrepreneurs to campus this year to speak on their experiences, including Richard Keith, Jan Horsfall and Chad McWhinney.

Today, as part of the program, Albert Miller, an alumnus of CSU, will present his company Phoenix Closures, a manufacturing firm specializing in injection-molded closures. His presentation will be at 12:30 p.m. in Rockwell Hall room 119.

Another of SIFE’s projects involves working with the Boys and Girls Club and DECA, which is the high school equivalent of SIFE, to develop a business plan to fund their projects and activities, Lambert said.

This and other projects will be presented Friday at a regional competition in Denver. Winners at regionals move on to a national competition and possibly a world competition.

Last year, the CSU team took second runner-up at regionals, and the previous year they were first runner-up, Odneal said.

CSU is also hosting a business plan competition called Venture Adventure. The competition allows students to present original business plans to a panel of judges and compete for prizes of up to $7,000, according to www.biz.colostate.edu/cefe.

Teams from schools across the nation, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Purdue University, will be coming to CSU April 18 and 19 for the competition.

Lambert said he encourages students from all colleges and majors to look into the entrepreneurship program.

“We’re part of the College of Business, but we represent the whole school,” he said.

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