OU Partners Students And Businesses In Entrepreneurial Program

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An entrepreneur is defined as "a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk."

Such people are talked about a lot these days because of the important role they play in our still struggling economy.

And at Ohio University they're given special attention at the Center for Entrepreneurship, where Patrick Kreiser is a director.

"We're about three years old and we are a partnership between the Ohio University College of Business and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. We have three arms for the Center for Entrepreneurship: the technology commercialization economic development arm, an applied learning arm and a curriculum arm which offers degree programs, both major and certificate programs to Ohio University students," said Kreiser.

The OU Center for Entrepreneurship helps businesses get started and grow, often with the assistance of students who are pursuing their degrees.

"We think it's really important to get our students involved with the local business community, certainly in a time of economic downturn, as we are in and have been for the last several years," said Kreiser.

Kreiser says entrepreneurship is the key to economic development, particularly in Southeast Ohio. "Small businesses and family firms are the key to economic development," said Kreiser.

Students in the center could be connected with a business to help with marketing, product development or website creation.

With promises of "business assistance and investment capital", businessmen and women from Southeast Ohio are eager to get involved, according to Kreiser.

"So in the U.S., 99 percent of businesses are small businesses and Athens is no exception to that. So we've found the local business community to be very welcoming and very warm in terms of working with us. There's been tremendous interest," said Kreiser.

As of this fall, the Center is offering a Certificate in Entrepreneurship to students from any O-U "college, discipline or major".

There is also a business major in Entrepreneurship for business students.

"Both of the degree programs, even though they are a little bit different, in terms of focus, both have applied learning as a key piece so all students are required to take a business consulting or entrepreneurial consulting course where they are able to work with a local business in order to help out that business learn a little bit about entrepreneurship," said Kreiser.