Entrepreneur Scholars: A real world experience

The Record
Pat Wicker, staff writer
February 3, 2005, print edition

Do you have the dream of one day starting your own business? Have you been looking for the resources, including the knowledge needed in starting your own business?  We finally have what you’re looking for; the program is called Entrepreneur Scholars.  This is part of a Entrepreneurship Studies Program that is being offered at CSB/SJU that allows students to achieve these dreams. 

The Entrepreneurship Studies Program is a select number of students that are chosen through an application process that wish to pursue any allure they may have in entrepreneurship.  This program entails a 3-semester course sequence that focuses on and deals with several aspects of entrepreneurship studies. 

The first of the three course sequence, Creating World Class Venture, covers theoretical entrepreneurial skills needed to create a worldwide business that may grow into a competitive venture.  Students are required to create a hypothetical plan that could potentially generate a new world class business. 

The second course, Global Entrepreneurship, allows the students to administrate business with a more international focus.  This course will emphasize analyzing how markets are influenced from various factors including; competition, power, culture, and values.  They will be comparing business practices of entrepreneurship demonstrated in the United States with entrepreneurs from around the world.  With direct interaction with small business owners in their own countries as well as through readings the students will understand the moral dilemmas surrounding international business.  Students will have the opportunity to travel internationally and learn from professors and entrepreneurs abroad. 

Finally, the third course, Entrepreneur Apprenticeship, requires students to finalize previously made business plans and apply these plans in the real world.  Next, students are required to either execute their own business plans or fulfill an apprenticeship that entails a significant experience in an entrepreneurial organization in a similar area of business.

Students are exposed to entrepreneur mentors and have the opportunity to visit successful entrepreneurs at their place of business.  Entrepreneur Scholars gain the knowledge to develop their own theoretical proposal for a new business venture.  They will also have the chance to do some international traveling to learn from successful entrepreneurs first hand.

Using money from an endowment established a few years ago by Donald McNeely, former CEO of industrial real estate firm Space Center Inc. in St. Paul, The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University (CSB/SJU) in Collegeville have created the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship.

"Part of the center's role is to bring resources on campus, to bring alumni back, find internship [opportunities] and site visit [opportunities] so students can see and experience what an entrepreneurial environment is really like," said Barreiro, executive director of the center. "There's a wonderful pool of people who have already been generous with their time and willingness to be available to do whatever is important to help this center and help the students at St. John's and St. Ben's move into this arena."   The Center will also provide training and coaching to alums or community leaders starting businesses or nonprofits.

The Mission of the Center is to create social value and economic opportunity by actively building alliances between students, as future entrepreneurs, faculty and experienced entrepreneurs in service to communitiies, organizations, and individuals.

It’s Director, Terri Barreiro, comes to CSB/SJU from the Minneapolis and Greater Twin Cities United Way where she served as Vice President of community building and senior director of plannning, allocations and evaluation. Previously she managed corporate giving for the Dayton Hudson Corporation.  A nationally sought after speaker, she helps others develop good management practices, addresses emerging social issues and works to create effective collaborations to improve both nonprofits and communities

Eric Rego, a former Entrepreneur Scholar said “This is the most rewarding program I’ve been a part of in college.  It is so hands-on and practical.  We’re doing exactly what we’re studying.  We’re actually designing a real venture” (J Scoon).  Rego and teammates Derick Dehmer and Katie Kalkman, are working on a dream they hope to become a reality with their creation of Collegeville Carpet.  This would be a company that offers custom-fit dorm carpeting to students at reduced prices.  Management faculty was recently presented this new venture and gave the go-ahead to develop the details for implementation of this new business (J Scoon).

If you have been interested in starting your own business the Entrepreneur Scholar program is the path that will lead you to achieving all you dreams.  For more information visit the McNeely Center, 350 Simons Hall at SJU.