At the Carson College of Business, we’re teaching students to think like entrepreneurs. We want WSU graduates to be innovators who can bring fresh ideas, visionary thinking, and problem-solving skills to their workplace—whether that’s a new tech startup or a company with a 100-year history.
This issue of eDividend celebrates the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that thrives among the college’s students, faculty, and alumni and inspires the rest of the university. It also spotlights trends in the regional economy through a story on the college’s “Business in the Northwest 2019” survey.
In our suite of features, you’ll discover that our annual Business Plan Competition is one of the ways the college supports entrepreneurship across than state. More than 150 students took part in our 17th annual competition, which challenges contestants to identify a viable business opportunity, create a plan, and deliver a sophisticated pitch. First place winner Appiture created a device and app that screens for autism spectrum disorders, allowing for earlier detection. You’ll see how well our Carson Cougs did competing in business plan competitions across the Northwest in our results infographic.
The payback on entrepreneurial training is evident in our story on undergraduate Dante Ludlow, who turned his interest in high-end athletic shoes and vintage sports apparel into a thriving eBay business. “The Value of an Entrepreneurial Education” reveals why individual donors and companies choose to invest in our entrepreneurship programming, and their thoughts inspire us to continually seek new ideas for entrepreneurial education.
The progress of our alumni is highlighted in a story about Tyler Alvarado (’08 Acc.), the CEO of a Coeur d’Alene startup that aims to revolutionize manufacturing by lowering the cost of products made with fiberglass, Kevlar, and carbon fiber composites. Other alumni stories showcase the accomplishments of our recent MBA graduates, siblings Juston Demke and Christina Homfeldt, and Executive MBA graduate Wendy Brant. Commencement ceremonies were especially meaningful as brother and sister shared the stage with each other—and Brant with her daughter, Kaile, who earned her WSU bachelor’s degree this spring.
Carson College faculty, meanwhile, are helping to promote entrepreneurship through research. Our story on Assistant Professor Amrita Lahiri’s research provides insights on what start-up companies should consider when they hire accomplished inventors, or “star” employees, for product innovation teams.
Our Stay Connected section features stories of engagement, from a summary of signature events and guest lectures over the past year to a feature on how alumnus Brad Johnson (’88 Fin.) took the initiative to start the PACCAR Mentoring program, which kicks off this fall. By pairing sophomores and juniors with PACCAR mentors, our students will gain insights into working for a Fortune 500 company. You’ll also learn how generous scholarships will help one of our hardworking students, Samantha Kelley, finish her accounting degree and graduate in May.
As we prepare for the 2019-2020 academic year, I invite you to join me in thinking and dreaming big. We continue to expand the activities of our Center for Entrepreneurship to serve even more Cougs, and we are looking to redevelop the Commons Collaboration Center that serves as home to the CES and Director Marie Mayes. We rely on you—alumni, friends, seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts—to enrich the educational experience of not just Carson Cougs but WSU students across all majors who look to us for business and entrepreneurial education.
Chip Hunter, Dean