The 2012 Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership Advisory Council was held in the E-Zone on Monday 9th April. Attending from COBA was Dean Ron Shiffler; Department Chair Jerry Wilson; Dr. Dominique Halaby; Dr. Luke Pittaway and Matt Chambers. Advisory Council members attending included: Lori Durden; Lesley Francis; Allen Muldrew; Clint Nessmith; Bill Pittman; Stuart Wiggins; Woody Johnson; Ron Medinger; Ray Wenig; and Jimmy Childre.
Chair of the Advisory Council Jim Williams opened proceedings. The meeting began with a presentation by Dominique Halaby from the Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED). Dr. Halaby discussed ideas about Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants available mentioning MIT as an example, where anyone can utilize their $20,000,000 facility to develop a project, and posed the question as to why Georgia Southern University did not have a similar “Fab Lab”.
After Dr. Halaby’s speech, the president of SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), Matt Chambers updated the attendees on what SIFE had accomplished during his first year as president. He talked about the “Eagle Green Cup” created by SIFE students in a partnership with Eagle Dining Services in order to cut the amount of Styrofoam cups and plastic bottle usage on campus. He also mentioned the effort to raise 8400lbs of food for the Statesboro food bank and $7,000 for the Hearts and Hands clinic. The team also competed at the Regionals competition and got 1st Runner-up. The organization’s next steps are to create a community garden, rebuild the Restore in Statesboro and win the Regionals competition in order to go to the Nationals.
Following Matt, Dr. Luke Pittaway started his annual report on the Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership. The Center’s main achievement was the launch of the Entrepreneur Zone in August 2011. All the Center’s resources were moved to the E-Zone and five Management classes were held in the building, bringing a total student foot-traffic of 3900 visits. Major events at the E-Zone , have included the Writing and Linguistics Department, Statesboro Downtown Master-plan, the E-Zone Forums, with a total of 39 events, with a total foot-traffic of 859 visitors (between October and December 2012). General awareness of the Center has improved but there is still plenty of work to do in order to enhance awareness of the E-Zone both on and off campus.
The entrepreneurship program is seeing the effects of the launch of the new minor in entrepreneurship and small business management. As of Spring 2012, all sections of classes have filled. There was an increase in the number of students of 6%, totaling 370 (following a 55% increase in 2011). The students in the MBA entrepreneurship classes have undertaken business plans for 3 local businesses for the first time. Chris Welter (Ohio) has been recruited as the new Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship starting in August 2012.
The Center’s website with the contribution of our journalism intern (Natalie Demarko) had 12,000 unique visits, an increase of 100% from last year.
Dr. Jerry W. Wilson, Chair of Management, Marketing, and Logistics Department spoke after Dr. Pittaway. He was impressed by the achievements taken by the entrepreneurship program over the past year. He mentioned how the university aims to keep growing with a projection of 25,000 students by the first 5 years of Dr. Keel’s presidency, where COBA students’ enrollment should grow following the same path and contributing to the continued growth of the entrepreneurship program.
The next item of business was a discussion of ideas about entrepreneurship education across the entire university with the basic movement to help students start businesses. The topic of conversation then turned to the next Georgia Bowl competition and the need for more technology based ideas from outside companies who could link together with the Georgia Southern MBA students. The meeting went on to discuss a summary of strategic plans for the Center.
Chair Williams and Dr. Pittaway led the Advisory Council meeting with a strategic planning SWOT analysis for the upcoming year. The group identified some particular strengths and opportunities that will contribute for the growth of the Center over the course of the next five years. All were in strong agreement that the Center’s strengths included its growing reputation, massive activity level, leadership, and its unique marketing niche. Furthermore, some of the recognized opportunities for increased success were the E-Zone building and location, an enhancement of marketing materials, and the wide-array entrepreneurship inspired programs that could be developed in the E-Zone. The analysis of the year identified some weaknesses and threats. For example, the council noted that there are currently not enough E-Zone members to consider it a success and that resource constraints continue. At the conclusion, Chair Williams praised Luke for his successful year and thanked all Advisory Council members for their participation. Williams also recognized each Council Action Committee for updates. Lastly, under new business a motion was unanimously approved to begin semi-annual C.E.L.L. Advisory Council meetings starting this Fall 2012. The meeting was then adjourned.
A sincere thanks goes out to all in attendance for their involvement and contributions to the success of the Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership.