Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship provides students on campus with the necessary tools to help them achieve success with entrepreneurship and future employment ventures.
Located in the Alden Library, the center educates students who are interested in entrepreneurship with skills they can use to start their own businesses, brands or products.
Paul Benedict, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, offered considerable insight on the many opportunities the center offers students.
“On one hand we have classes in entrepreneurship,“ Benedict said. “There's both a major in entrepreneurship, that is in the college business, and a certificate in entrepreneurship that's open to everybody else. Then, outside of classes, there's a lot of programming we do … that includes things like the Bobcat Seed Fund, major signature events and competitions, and mentoring, networking, connection types of things, helping students get internships and jobs. All of that stuff.”
Open to all students with different majors on campus, including entrepreneurship and business majors, the center also offers the Bobcat Seed Fund.
The Bobcat Seed Fund is awarded to students who have a strong interest in creating their own businesses and individuals can apply via an online application. Created in the fall of 2018, the fund consists of a grant of up to $3,000 and pitch applications are reviewed entirely by other students.
Leanna Siupinys, owner of Leanna’s Lens in the greater Cleveland area, was a recipient of the 2021 Bobcat Seed Fund during her senior year at OU.
“I got the seed fund just before I graduated, which was really great timing for me because as soon as I graduated, I launched as a full-time freelancer into Cleveland's creative industry,” Siupinys said. “And so I used that money to get me some different gear to start my business strong by entering the industry. ‘’
She described her experience with the Center for Entrepreneurship as rewarding for her career, and she recommends that students become their own bosses and work at their own schedules.
“I would definitely recommend freelance work to anyone that likes a more flexible lifestyle and is okay with maybe not having worked one week and having worked the next week,” Siupinys said. “If you can live with that flexibility I think it's such a fun, rewarding lifestyle. For example, I'm going to Europe in November for two weeks and I don't have to request off or anything because I can do whatever I want.”
Current entrepreneurship and business students also use the Center for Entrepreneurship as a place to inspire their creativity and many of the OU business faculty members are also resources within the center.
Alex Hoelle, a junior studying entrepreneurship, expressed his joy over the leadership of the center and faculty that also teach his courses.
“I love all the professors and the leadership that they have going on,” Hoelle said. “They teach great classes. I just got another one. Just overall great.”
OU’s Center for Entrepreneurship offers quite a lot of resources for students looking to become their own bosses and start their own businesses. The center also offers numerous opportunities for students who are not affiliated with any majors in the programs but want to learn about a few new skills.