Missouri State University



The definition of Entrepreneurship is complex and multifaceted.  Entrepreneurship may be conceptualized as the practice of starting new businesses, but entrepreneurs also are those who pioneer change by creating new products and/or processes.  These activities have been long associated with creating job opportunities, and the spectrum of entrepreneurship activities can be found in both for-profit and not-for-profit entities.

There are two distinct aspects to entrepreneurship with regard to the typical university's participation in such initiatives.  The first involves an emphasis on economic development through interdisciplinary research efforts focused on the advancement of community, regional, state or national initiatives. The second emphasis is a focused effort aimed at creating the next generation of entrepreneurs by providing the business skills and research skills necessary for creation and market technologies, other products, and ideas. 


Examples of major trends and opportunities in extramural funding

Establishment of a significant entrepreneurship program will require substantial funding. This has been true of many other entrepreneurship programs, since much of the funding for such programs has come from private and/or foundation sources. In the last three decades, the number of endowed positions in entrepreneurship and related fields has increased one-hundred-fold in the United States and is likely to pass the 500 mark by years end, with an average endowment of over $2,250,000 (Katz, Kauffman Foundation, 2004). Private funding of entrepreneurship education is not limited to chaired professorships; since a sampling of 25 of the 124 members of the national consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers indicated 60 percent were named centers (list dated 11/4/04).

At the present, Missouri State University has potential donors who have indicated a preliminary interest in supporting an Entrepreneurship Center.


Examples of areas of knowledge you anticipate will experience the most dramatic growth

Entrepreneurial small businesses create most of the new jobs and innovations that fuel the nation's economy and half of American private sector employees work in small businesses. During the last ten years, small companies have generated the majority of new jobs, and it is projected that by 2025 half of the North American labor force will be self-employed. Entrepreneurship is risky. More than 80 percent of start-ups fail within five years, with 90 percent of these failures due to poor management.

Education and adherence to sound key principles and practices can increase average success rates for small businesses to over 80 percent. (Webb, Conference The Role of Entrepreneurship in Economic Development, Washington, DC, Proceedings, March 7, 2005)

In 2000-2001, firms with fewer than 500 employees saw a net increase of 1,150,875, while larger businesses experienced a net employment decrease by 999,970. Over the decade of the 1990s, small business creation fluctuated between 60 and 80 percent, while contributing all of the net new jobs in the non-farm private sector.

Smaller enterprises create more than 50 percent of the non-farm private gross domestic product (GDP). Small firms also produce 13 to 14 more patents per employee than large patenting firms. These patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited. In addition, these firms are the leading employers of scientists, engineers and computer workers, employing 39 percent of such workers. (U.S. Bureau of the Census, SBA Advocacy Small Business Statistics and Research) It should be noted that while some 30% of successful entrepreneurial endeavors involve high-tech initiatives, some 70% do not.

Unique Resources:

Examples of unique existing resources as well as current needs in Missouri, the Ozarks, and/or Springfield regarding economic development, technological advances, cultural enrichment, physical well-being, and/or social prosperity

The university has a growing program in basic and applied technical and applied research as well as collaborative efforts with private sector technical and scientific enterprises, most notably through the Jordan Valley Innovation Center, the Center for Applied Science and Engineering, and other relevant programs. These and other technical programs at the university could provide a valuable resource for exposing entrepreneurship students to technical and scientific research, while at the same time providing the students in these programs and their attendant departments with an exposure to the knowledge required for commercialization of new technical and scientific discoveries and the output of like applied research and development efforts.

The present gap between these two major components of the industrial innovation process is a long standing weakness in our nation's efforts to bring new products, processes, and services to the marketplace, thereby blunting the effectiveness of both public, including university and private sector efforts, at economic development. New products, processes, and services for industry do not grow on trees, nor is building a better technological mousetrap sufficient enough to cause the world to beat a path to one's door. It is the combination of significantly competitive scientific/technological research and development output, and sound business practices that result in economic development and jobs for workers and recent graduates of our educational institutions. Industrial innovation is a product of both technological research and business commercialization efforts. The relationship between these two basic components is multiplicative; anything that diminishes either component reduces the other.


Examples of new collaborations in research and/or learning as well as linkages to the University's existing and emerging research strengths

Entrepreneurship is rich with opportunities for cross-campus and off-campus collaboration with cooperative learning experiences for students in a variety of technical and non-technical disciplines, thereby providing an alternative to working for others and providing them with an opportunity, as President Nietzel recently put it, to create jobs, rather than to take jobs.


Examples of building on existing strengths

Springfield, Missouri, and the surrounding region, is highly entrepreneurial; therefore, providing significant entrepreneurial expertise and applied resources to draw upon, as well as opportunities for applied learning experiences.

With regard to specific Missouri State research efforts in the area, since 2002 some 25 research-based entrepreneurship articles have been published by Missouri State faculty in the College of Business Administration.

Mission Fit:

Examples of compatibility with the University's statewide mission in public affairs

At its core, entrepreneurship is both educational—enabling students to be all they can be—and public affairs through economic development—stimulating the development and commercialization of both university, including faculty and student-generated technology, and private sector technology, in the form of new products, processes, and services to enhance societal well-being and providing new jobs for American workers.

Education Fit:

Examples of contributions to superior undergraduate, graduate, and professional education

In addition to meeting a growing student interest in an alternative to working for others, entrepreneurship provides students with an opportunity for real-life learning experiences through internships and applied research. In the case of growth-oriented enterprises of both a technical and non-technical nature, students are given an opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary research and action teams; thereby providing students the ability to learn from other students in other disciplines, as well as from the entrepreneur and that firms employees. It also allows for their collaborative applied research, and enhances their class room learning experiences by providing them with an opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom in a real-life setting.


Given the entrepreneurial climate that exists in Southwest Missouri and specifically the large number of privately formed organizations in the area, the potential for obtaining funding/support from these local entrepreneurs would seem to be significant. In addition, given the history of small business development in this country and the availability of governmental funding (in the form of economic development grants, e.g.) additional continued sources of external funding would also appear to be possible. Potential external funding opportunities exist in the form of grants from the Kauffman Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Limiting Factors:

Additional faculty lines will be required for both the educational mission and economic development support. Physical facilities will have to be reallocated or constructed depending on the size of the endeavor. However, there is a high probability for donor support for such infrastructure needs.