The annual Business Plan Competition gives students the opportunity to develop an idea for a company and pitch their plan to judges.

WSU Center for Entrepreneurship Plans for 25th Anniversary Celebration

By Becky Kramer

The Center for Entrepreneurship is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Since its founding in 1995, CES has helped thousands of WSU students develop the skills needed to start and grow a business, or bring a new idea or concept into fruition. The center provides opportunities for students of all majors to explore ideas, discover resources, and launch new ventures.

Marie Mayes, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.

“Entrepreneurship education—especially the hands-on aspect—is transformative for our students,” says Marie Mayes, the director of CES. “It has a lasting impact on students’ development because it gives them opportunities to take initiative and tackle things they aren’t comfortable with.”

The center’s annual Business Plan Competition, established in 2002, is one example. Over the past five years, more than 500 students have taken part in the competition, which attracts WSU students from across all majors.

Working in teams, students develop detailed business plans that they pitch to a panel of judges. Getting critiqued by business professionals and adjusting their strategy to incorporate the feedback is a valuable experience for students, Mayes says.

“Entrepreneurship is a mindset that helps students deal with change and uncertainty,” she says. “Students can take those skills with them to any kind of career—whether they’re involved in a startup or whether they go to work for someone else.”

Besides the Business Plan Competition, the center manages programs and events to introduce students to entrepreneurship and move them toward launching their idea. The Terry Sparks Program is designed for freshmen and sophomores, and the Jones Milestone Accelerator provides assistance to select student-led teams to help them grow their ventures.

“The Center for Entrepreneurship promotes a culture of innovation, inspiring students to take initiative for their education and connecting them to hands-on learning opportunities,” says Asa Brown, director of the Jones Milestone Accelerator.

Events throughout 2020 will showcase CES’s accomplishments and future opportunities, culminating with Global Entrepreneurship Week in November.

Learn more about CES by visiting, or contact the center at