Contact: James Carskadon
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach has continued to grow since moving into a new 2,000-square-foot facility in 2016.
The center now works with 99 entrepreneurship teams representing students from every academic college in the university, up from approximately 30 teams in 2014. In fiscal year 2017, the center has received $5.52 million in grants to spur innovation among students, U.S. armed services veterans and MSU researchers.
As the Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach continues to grow and pursue new opportunities, Director Eric Hill said the center fosters new businesses from student entrepreneurs from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, building on its VentureCatalyst program that has guided students through successful business launches.
“Students pitch their ideas to and get feedback from successful peer entrepreneurs,” Hill said during a presentation to university leaders on Tuesday [June 20]. “They also get feedback from the MSU Entrepreneurship Center Advisory Board and can receive advice from leaders in the business community through our Executive in Residence program.”
A new angel investor funding program established by an MSU alumnus aims to connect entrepreneurs with funding opportunities. The Bulldog Angel Network was recently launched, and allows MSU alumni and others the chance to invest in companies founded by MSU students. Hill said the Angel Network, which is a separate entity from the university, will help entrepreneurs pursue their business goals after graduating from MSU. Wade Patterson, president of the Bulldog Angel Network, said this group will help the Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach continue to stand out from its peers at other SEC schools and be competitive at a national level. For more on the Bulldog Angel Network, visit www.ban.clubexpress.com.
“Now is the time to take MSU and our entrepreneurial talent to the national stage by providing angel funding to lift the great business ideas off the ground,” Patterson said.
Earlier this year, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach received a $495,300 grant from the National Science Foundation to create an I-Corps site at MSU. The site helps the university broaden the economic reach of its research and innovation by providing infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training and modest funding to enable groups to transition their work into the marketplace. Additionally, the university has received approximately $4.3 million over five years from the Small Business Administration to assist veterans with starting and growing business by providing online “Boots to Business” training.
For more on the Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach, housed in MSU’s College of Business, visit ecenter.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.