Seizing opportunities, demonstrating innovation and leadership and applying the Benedictine values central to both the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in the workplace and in their own lives.
Those are the criteria that go into the section of the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards presented annually by the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at CSB and SJU.
And the 2023 winners certainly meet and exceed those standards.
The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Entrepreneur of the Year Awards “recognize the achievements of a Johnnie and a Bennie who best exemplify the ideals of entrepreneurship by starting and successfully managing one or more businesses in a way that demonstrates notable entrepreneurial characteristics and achievements while practicing Benedictine values in the workplace and in their lives.”
The 2023 SJU winner is Dusan Kosic ’07, a co-owner and managing partner of HTEC Group, a software engineering and digital product development company founded in Belgrade, Serbia and now headquartered in San Francisco. In early 2022, the company secured $140 million from investment firm Brighton Park Capital in an equity deal to accelerate its global expansion.
Kosic grew up in grew up in Banja Luka, Bosnia and received a Whalen Family Foundation scholarship to attend college at SJU. His company was founded by a small team in Belgrade, Serbia in 2008 - one year after Kosic graduated from SJU. He currently serves on the executive committee of the SJU Bosnia-Herzegovina Alumni Chapter and lives in Belgrade with his wife Maja and their children Mila, Stefan and Marko.
The 2023 CSB winner is Shannon Verly Wiger ’04, the owner of Shannon Wiger & Co. and the director of business development at the Moss and Barnett law firm in St. Cloud.
She has played a key role in reimagining and preserving historical spaces, including such Central Minnesota projects as the Davidson Opera House and First National Bank buildings in downtown St. Cloud and the historic Frank Timmers Saloon building in St. Joseph.
The CSB/SJU Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award “recognizes the achievements and qualities of a Johnnie or Bennie who best exemplifies the ideals of social entrepreneurship by starting and successfully managing one or more ventures that enrich humanity or address a social issue in a way that demonstrates notable entrepreneurial characteristics and achievements while practicing Benedictine values in the workplace and in their lives.”
This year’s winner is Paul Williams ’84, the former deputy mayor of St. Paul who is now the president and CEO of Project for Pride in Living, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit serving lower-income families and individuals through job training and by providing affordable housing.
Williams has served or is serving on a number of boards and councils including the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the St. Paul Port Authority and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority.
The trio will be honored in a ceremony Oct. 23 at the Metropolitan Club in Golden Valley, Minnesota.