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8/8/14 - Mississippi State investing in entrepreneurship

Mississippi State's focus on entrepreneurship is intensifying, and officials at the land-grant institution are anticipating a significant return on investment for students, faculty and alumni.

"Over the past few years, we have placed a greater emphasis on fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and we have seen remarkable results," said David Shaw, MSU's vice president for research and economic development.

"We are committed to providing real world opportunities for our students, who are the next generation of innovators, inventors and leaders," he said.

For example, the university hosted its third-annual Investing in Innovation Day and Entrepreneurship Week in April.

Program manager Eric Hill said a total of 21 start-ups received awards, the average of which was $2,262.

The awards were made possible through private donations, along with support provided by MSU's Thad Cochran Endowment for Entrepreneurship and the College of Business and Bagley College of Engineering.

The entrepreneurship initiative invested nearly $82,000 directly in start-ups in FY 2014, Hill added.

Dean of Business Sharon Oswald said the spring event demonstrated MSU's flourishing entrepreneurial culture.

"We have students with innovative ideas and faculty willing to help them take these ideas to the next level," Oswald said.

This fall, additional resources will be available to new and existing entrepreneurs at MSU. A revamped Entrepreneurship Center in the heart of campus will anchor this enhanced investment.

"We will soon be starting renovations to a large space on the first floor of McCool Hall to house the state-of-the-art MSU Entrepreneurship Center," Oswald said.

She explained that the central location in the College of Business -- which is celebrating its 100th year anniversary in 2015 -- is convenient for students and faculty from all of the university's colleges to meet, brainstorm and collaborate.

Additional components include developing an entrepreneurship curriculum, hosting an entrepreneur in residence, and growing opportunities for industry involvement. Oswald noted that there are a number of alumni and donors who are very interested in supporting the center and seeing its success.

"Since its start five years ago, the MSU Entrepreneurship Center has served as an excellent example of the impact that comprehensive research universities can have in their communities, especially in more rural states like Mississippi," Shaw said.

"I am deeply appreciative of Dean Oswald and the College of Business stepping forward to provide such strong support for MSU's entrepreneurship efforts. The College of Business will be stimulating student and faculty entrepreneurship not only within their college, but campus-wide," he said.

For additional information about the MSU Entrepreneurship Center and related programs, please contact Hill at e.hill@msstate.edu or 662-325-3521 or visit www.ecenter.msstate.edu online.

Jim Laird | Public Affairs

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