August 5, 2002
Whitworth Receives Grant to Help Develop Regional Center for Entrepreneurship and Small-Business Studies
Whitworth's School of Global Commerce and Management took a major step in its efforts to become a regional leader of entrepreneurship education and to strengthen connections between the college and the Spokane business community when it recently received a $137,628 grant from the Seattle-based Herbert Jones Foundation to help develop a center for entrepreneurship and small-business studies.
The grant funding comes on the heels of Whitworth President Bill Robinson's tenure as 2000-01 chair of the Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce and Whitworth's July 2001 consolidation of its undergraduate and graduate business programs under the new School of Global Commerce and Management, which is overseen by its dean, Kyle Usrey, an attorney who has worked as a college professor and business/government consultant on four continents.
The three-year grant program will lay the groundwork for the development of the Whitworth Center for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Studies by establishing a job shadowing/mentoring/internship program that will link students with Spokane-area entrepreneurs. Grant funding will also support an on-campus speaker series that will provide Whitworth students and faculty, and members of the regional business community, with opportunities to learn from and interact with entrepreneurs and small-business professionals from industries throughout the region.
Elizabeth Peterson, assistant professor of economics and business at Whitworth, will direct the grant-funded program in conjunction with an advisory board, chaired by Usrey, that comprises Whitworth faculty and business community members.
"Through its internships and related on-the-job experiences, the grant program will help create a bridge between the business classroom and the 'real world' of business for Whitworth's undergraduate and graduate students," Peterson says. "The program will also help strengthen the economic vitality of the Spokane region by providing well-equipped graduates who can contribute to the growing small-business environment within the community."
The grant program is the initial phase in the development of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Studies, which the School of Global Commerce and Management plans to launch formally in the next three to five years. The center will include new curriculum for the creation of a major and minor in entrepreneurship and small-business studies; will provide a venue for Whitworth students and faculty to collaborate with entrepreneurs and business owners in the Inland Northwest; and will develop programs including business education, certification in entrepreneurship and small business, and regional research and consulting services, to help meet the needs of the business community.
"This grant is consistent with Whitworth's desire to serve the Inland Northwest by developing new job opportunities and innovative economic growth in partnership with local businesses," Usrey says. "Small business and entrepreneurship have been and will remain for years to come at the heart of our economy, and this initiative, coupled with our focus on international commerce and new global markets, will provide some unique synergies that will benefit numerous people and organizations."
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,100 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Elizabeth Peterson, assistant professor of economics and business, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kyle Usrey, dean of the School of Global Commerce and Management, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4721 or email@example.com.
Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or firstname.lastname@example.org.