Oklahoma City University, Love's Build Entrepreneurial Center

Article excerpt

A different kind of entrepreneurship center will soon be opened at Oklahoma City University's Meinders School of Business.

The Love's Entrepreneurship Center, named for Tom Love of Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores, will begin offering seminars as early as the spring 2005 semester. Love provided a $1 million gift to the university to get the center started.

We'll be the first major university in the country to offer at least one course in entrepreneurship to every single student in every academic area, said Larry C. Farrell, the author and consultant whose ideas were the impetus for the center.

The new center will approach entrepreneurship a bit differently than other such centers, said Farrell. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Farrell is chairman of The Farrell Company, a firm for researching and teaching entrepreneurship. He is the author of several books, including Searching for the Spirit of Enterprise, The Entrepreneurial Age, and his latest, Getting Entrepreneurial.

The fatal flaw of most of these centers around the world - and I know them fairly well - is that they don't often have the recognition that 99 percent of entrepreneurs do not come from people who've studied management or business, said Farrell.

Rather, most entrepreneurs start out as a person with a good idea for a product, he said. Entrepreneurs are born in any and every field, from science to technology to the fine arts.

What we hope to do here is to recognize that the product and technology is more important than the management know-how in starting up a business, said Farrell. We want to marry those two together somehow in some smart and clever way so that the students here actually will be on a specific track of learning about a particular product, technology that they might do, while we're giving them some basic entrepreneurial steps to learn also.

Currently there is not a top-rated entrepreneurial center within 1,000 miles of Oklahoma City, but the new Love's Entrepreneurship Center could become one of the nation's leaders, Farrell said.

Love said Oklahoma City was the perfect place to start an innovative entrepreneurial center, as a city that has been actively reinventing itself over the last decade.

A college degree is a great thing to have, said Love. But sometimes you get a fantastic idea and you need to work on it now, not after you graduate. …

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