September 27, 28, 2001
Authorization to Establish the Center for Entrepreneurship and Small
Business Management; Montana State University-Bozeman Approval
of Proposal to Establish The Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West;
Montana State University-Bozeman, College of Business (revised)
THAT: The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes the College of Business to establish The Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West.
EXPLANATION: Summary: The Montana economy is founded on individual initiative. The entrepreneurial process that motivates individual initiative plays a crucial role in economic development. In light of dynamic scientific and technical advances generated through research at Montana State University-Bozeman, fostering and facilitating entrepreneurship is crucial to the economic development of the region and, indeed, the State of Montana. The Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West at MSU-Bozeman will strive to create, encourage and sustain the entrepreneurial process, spirit and practice through research, classroom seminars, community based education initiatives and other activities.
Program Description: The training and nurturing of entrepreneurs is uniquely consistent with the land grant mission of Montana State University-Bozeman. The Morrill Act established land grant universities specifically “to promote the liberal and practical education for the industrial classes on the several pursuits and professions in life.” Additionally, in light of the ascent of plant genetics and biotechnology as potential key drivers of regional, national and global economic growth, the combination of facilitation of entrepreneurship within the context of scientific and technical research in agriculture, plant and soil science, and range and land management is consistent with the land grant mission of MSU “to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture.”
Other departments that will directly benefit from the activities of the entrepreneurship center are engineering and computer science. Finally, the Center will have a significant out-reach component to provide entrepreneurs and small business managers in the community with educational seminars on key business topics.
The scientific, agricultural, technical and financial constituencies in and around the Gallatin Valley are highly supportive of the Center initiative. So much so that key community partners are an integral part of the Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West.
CENTER STRUCTURE AND IMPLEMENTATION
1. The structure of the Center is focused on providing a facilitating function to scientists on the MSU-Bozeman campus. These scientists have worked hard using Federal grant funding to develop compelling and exciting advances in science and technology. It will be a central objective of the Center to provide a facilitating service in the following ways:
● Evaluate commercial potential of scientific findings.
● Evaluate potential markets and market size for commercialized science.
● Provide management knowledge in the areas of business plan development, marketing plan development, human resource management, production planning and management, legal issues, cost accounting, managerial accounting.
● Offer assistance in business presentation skills related to funding efforts.
● Other assistance to entrepreneurs to be determined within the Center.
2. Partnerships will be forged with the TechRanch incubator and TechLink technology transfer organization. TechRanch and TechLink are providing physical space within their facilities in the MSU Research Park. The space will house the Director of the Center along with five student work stations.
3. Other Features of Structure and Implementation: In addition to the key features listed above, the following are additional dimensions of the structure and implementation of the Center.
University Courses: The College of Business faculty have developed a 30-hour minor whereby students can study entrepreneurship in the College of Business at MSU-Bozeman. The final course in this curriculum is an entrepreneur practicum, which will require students to work closely with organizations and individuals being served by the Center to learn about the entrepreneurial process first hand.
Entrepreneur in Residence: "Entrepreneurs in Residence" will be teaching in the minor program. Entrepreneurs from various industries will be invited to campus for 1 to 4 week periods to share their experience and insights with students. These experts will also speak to members of the broader business community under the sponsorship of the Center.
Entrepreneur Community Interaction: The Center will provide a venue for various entrepreneurial organizations in the Bozeman area. The Center will offer the opportunity for interaction among these groups in the spirit of cooperation and creating synergy between their efforts and those of the Center.
Community Outreach: Programs will be devised to provide experiences and specific training for entrepreneurs and small business owners at all levels. Examples include weekend seminars on business plan preparation and training sessions on making presentations for funding.
Values: One of the most important features of the Center is its commitment to a set of core values among entrepreneurs and students that emphasizes high standards, integrity, honesty, and commitment to free enterprise.
Importance of the Center to Montana State University-Bozeman and the State of Montana: The role of the Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West is unique in its ability to be of tremendous importance to both the campus and the economy of the State of Montana. With regard to the MSU campus, the Center will :
● play a key role in commercializing science;
● offer scientists access to high quality management knowledge;
● offer all students the opportunity to study essential entrepreneurial topics and interact directly with entrepreneurs.
With regard to the economy of the State of Montana, the Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West can have a significant and lasting impact on the state by nurturing agricultural processes and businesses that not only provide economic vitality to the agricultural component of the state economy, but also help to preserve a traditional lifestyle highly valued by a large percentage of the citizens of the State; fostering the development of environmentally clean industry in the state; and contributing to the creation of sustainable jobs in the state.
Funding Requirements: The Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West seeks no funding from the state. The .5 FTE allocated to the Center for the Director's time is being absorbed in the College of Business budget. TechRanch and TechLink are generously providing the physical space for the Center.
Funding to sustain the Center’s activities will be sought from foundations and state/federal government grants in complement with revenue generated from fee-based programs. These funds will be used to accelerate the rate at which services can be provided to on-campus entrepreneurs and off-campus entrepreneurs.