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K-State Today

September 28, 2011



Accelerating success: Venture Accelerator giving students resources to create their own businesses

By Communications and Marketing

An entrepreneur's dream is to have the space and resources to make an idea become a successful business. At the Kansas State University College of Business Administration, student entrepreneurs from across campus now have the ability to work in a dedicated space to make their dreams a reality.

The Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship's Venture Accelerator is a three-component resource for students, which includes two venture incubator houses, a student venture fund and a mentor and consulting resource.

The Venture Accelerator will be inaugurated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at 914 N. Manhattan Ave.

"The Venture Accelerator gives our students the chance to develop their ideas into successful ventures," said Jeff Hornsby, director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship, professor of management and the Jack Vanier Chair of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. "The resources available to them, from start-up funds to mentors and office space, will make a difference in their ability to start their businesses."

The student venture incubator houses were renovated over the spring semester by Chris Fox, a 2011 entrepreneurship graduate, and owner of Fox Home Innovations, a home remodeling company in the Manhattan and Kansas City areas, as well as student volunteers. Under Fox's direction, student volunteers from two fraternities and a business fraternity helped transform the space. The incubator has office space and business support services, including conference rooms, information technology and the resources to consult with experts.

Students also have access to entrepreneurship mentors through the K-State Business Executive Mentor program, an initiative of the College of Business Administration.

The Student Venture Fund provides start-up funds to student entrepreneurs based on the recommendations of students in the integrated investment management certificate program. This partnership between the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship and the Integrated Investment Management Initiative gives students in both programs the opportunity to experience real-life situations and decision-making.

"This type of partnership makes our college and university unique and a very special place for learning," said Ali Malekzadeh, dean of the College of Business Administration. "When students experience doing business during college, learning becomes more exciting and students become more involved, boosting retention rates, which is a key part of K-State's Vision 2025."

To gain access to the Venture Accelerator, which is open to all K-State students, students must apply by completing a business/venture plan.

"Being an entrepreneur in college is not an easy task, but with the help of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship being a student and having your own business is possible," said Steven Coen, senior in management, Overland Park, and founder of the resource file website MyRibit.com. "The Venture Accelerator finally gives us the ability to meet and work together without dealing with all the other distractions."