School:Youngstown State University

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Ysu pic.pngStudent Innovation and Entrepreneurship:

Youngstown State University has worked diligently to create an atmosphere that encourages Innovation and Entrepreneurship. We start off with introductory courses that put Innovation and Entrepreneurship into the minds of students in their first year. Some of these courses include Exploring Business, Marketing Concepts, professional selling and more. These courses focus on subject material outside of Innovation and Entrepreneurship but touch on I&E in a way that sparks interest in the minds of the students. About 450 students go through those courses each semester. We also bring in speakers weekly that talk about Innovation and Entrepreneurship or hit on that subject in some type of way that promotes I&E. Word is spread about I&E through many sources on our campus. We have the Jambar, which is a student ran newspaper that highlights key events on campus. In addition to this, we have the Youngstown State University magazine that many students have access to. Lastly, Youngstown State University has a radio station called Rookery Radio which is an online radio station that broadcasts events that are going on as well as other pertinent information.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship becomes even closer to students through courses designed specifically for I&E. Some of these courses include Entrepreneurship New Venture Creation, Entrepreneurship- Small Business Financial Management, Entrepreneurship- Business Plan Development, as well as Business Valuations which is in the Graduate program. All of these courses are directly relating to I&E and help students develop the I&E thinking and knowledge to succeed as innovative Entrepreneurs. Programs and student organizations are utilized to catalyze I&E as well. Some of these include Enactus which strives to create entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators, and our Entrepreneurship program that is led by a very successful entrepreneur. That same successful entrepreneur also runs a program that brings High School Students from the area to our university for a day long Innovation and Entrepreneurship forum for those students. At the event. Students get paired with one college student in an Entrepreneurship class and work on a business idea and present to the group. We also have a program called Hack YSU which allows students to explore their creative side as well as get additional exposure to I&E.

Students have opportunities to get hands on experience with Innovation and Entrepreneurship through many channels at Youngstown State University. We run several I&E internship programs for students and we have many companies in the surrounding area that are supportive of our students in many ways. The Beeghly Fellowship program provides students with a paid fellowship working with the Ohio Small Business Development Center at YSU.  Projects include marketing research, preparation of financial statements, export readiness studies, country research, business plan development, cash flow analysis and forecasts.

Faculty Entrepreneurship:

We have several faculty members that lead by example with Entrepreneurship and Innovation that encourage students to follow. Joseph Angelo is a professor that stands out for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Youngstown State University. Professor Angelo is an alumnus of Youngstown State University. He has coordinated with Junior Achievement which teaches Economics to middle school students. He runs the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum that our university holds with high schoolers in the area.

University- Industry Connections:

Our university has some connections in the area that really give life to students' Entrepreneurial and Innovative dreams. Some local funding sources for our students include Valley Growth Venture located in Youngstown. Another source of funding is the local government Innovation Program. The Youngstown State Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants runs a program called Mentoring Aspiring Professionals. In this program, we match students with professionals in the same field as the students. The pairs get together and fill out a packet together which helps spark mutually professional relationships, even leading to internships through this program for students. Students have gotten to go to their mentee and do mock interviews with them. The program is mostly for Accounting and Finance students however we do have some Entrepreneurs that take a mentee under their wing. The sky's the limit with this program and it helps catalyze I&E.

Regional and Local Economic Development:

The biggest catalyst we have for regional and economic development is the small business development center located in the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University.

For over thirty years, the Ohio Small Business Development Center at YSU has accelerated business growth, helped to create jobs and contributed to the economy by providing consulting and training to existing companies and new start-ups. Through its Export Assistance Network, the Center also helps companies with initiating or expanding international trade and exporting opportunities to compete in the global marketplace.

The SBDC leverages its expertise and network of resources through student interns & graduate assistants working at the Center and student/faculty class projects in the Williamson College of Business Administration. The SBDC and EAN are among the premier economic development agencies in the area, and offer services that include:

  • strategic business planning               
  • financial modeling & analysis
  • cash flow forecasting
  • strategic sales & market planning
  • loan proposal development
  • export and international trade consulting
  • customized domestic & international trade market research
  • business & exporting seminars

The SBDC is partially funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Ohio Development Services Agency, and is part of a network of Centers throughout the country.

In addition to the Small Business Development Center, we also have the regional economic development initiative (REDI). The Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) is located in the Office of Research at Youngstown State University (YSU), on the second floor of the Phelps Building on the campus of YSU. REDI serves in the role as “Navigator” in research-based, implementation-focused economic development support services for the Mahoning Valley.  REDI’s focus and mission reflects an organizational focus on a plan-implement structure known as design-build, a model often seen in the architecture and construction industries. This will enable REDI to serve as the “Navigator” in economic development implementation and support services throughout the Mahoning Valley. Economic development partners throughout the region have affirmed YSU REDI’s “Navigator” role.

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