In the face of a slow economy, demand for enrollment in Colorado State University’s College of Business entrepreneurship courses has doubled this year.
With entrepreneurial interest on the rise, Colorado State’s Students in Free Enterprise will provide entrepreneurship education on campus as part of the global SIFE organization’s National Entrepreneurship Month in February.
As part of the month’s activities, SIFE students at Colorado State will host a presentation by Richard Keith, co-founder and CEO of Center Partners in Fort Collins. Keith was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Rocky Mountain region in the service division for 2002. He will discuss "The 10 Commandments of Entrepreneurship" and the challenges and rewards of building your own business from 12:30-1:45 p.m. Feb. 25 in the University Club’s Cherokee Park Room in the Lory Student Center. Attendance is free but seats are limited.
Colorado State’s SIFE team also will host three other highly successful entrepreneurs in the coming months including Chad McWhinney, Bert Miller and Jan Horsfall. McWhinney, who has grown McWhinney Enterprises in Loveland into one of the most successful real estate developers in Colorado, will speak March 4. Horsfall, CEO of White Summit Strategies, a venture capital firm in Colorado Springs, will speak March 31. Miller, president of Phoenix Closures, an industry leader in packaging products, will speak April 8. All of these companies have been creating jobs in Colorado this year through their entrepreneurial activities.
Peter Stranathan, a recent Colorado State graduate in business marketing and entrepreneurship, recognizes the importance of university groups like SIFE. He was interested in learning more than theories taught in the classroom in 1999 when, during his sophomore year, he and Jeremy Pourbaix, another business student, started their own painting business in Fort Collins. The size of their company has increased 800 percent this year.
"In 1999, when we started the company, it wasn’t so much about the slow economy as it was about wanting first-hand knowledge of starting and running a successful business," said Stranathan, owner of McGuyver Painting. "Now, the economic slowdown is one of the main reasons I want to run my own business rather than pounding the pavement looking for a job."
Stranathan and Pourbaix were awarded the North American Collegiate Entrepreneur Award in the high plains region in 2002.
Founded in 1975 and active on more than 1,300 campuses in 31 countries, SIFE is a non-profit global organization that works in partnership with business and higher education to provide university students the opportunity to make a difference and develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing and teaching the principles of free enterprise.
"The Colorado State SIFE team has been very active this year in entrepreneurial activities benefiting Northern Colorado," said Hunt Lambert, director of Colorado State’s Entrepreneurship Center. "They worked closely last fall with the Fort Collins High School DECA team – a national association of marketing students – to help the local Boys and Girls Club set up a business to better fund their projects and activities."
Each year, SIFE teams worldwide develop and implement thousands of educational outreach projects in their communities which are designed to teach others the principles of the free enterprise system. Projects conducted by student teams are eligible for awards totaling $13,500.
For more information about SIFE at Colorado State or details on any of the Entrepreneurship Center’s presentations, contact Lambert at (970) 491-6876 or visit www.biz.colostate.edu/cefe/.