PULLMAN, Wash. — Providing business planning assistance to startup companies is the latest domain of Washington State University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.
Rom Markin, center director and Huber Chair of Entrepreneurship, hopes to have the center’s first clients identified this fall. His concept is to combine the intellectual resources of the university and the private sector to help new business ventures. He says some of the region’s top business executives have agreed to sign on as advisers and many faculty of WSU’s College of Business and Economics also will provide assistance.
Several of the business leaders are or had been associated with WSU as members of college advisory panels during the 12 years Markin served as dean of business and economics.
“They are activists in the business arena and are enthusiastic about the approach of bringing professionals and academics together to get new entrepreneurial ventures off the ground,” Markin remarks.
He sees the greatest potential for help in the development of business plans. Advisers will evaluate a new company’s financing needs, sales and marketing, human resources, and other business plan elements.
“When someone goes to the bank for a new enterprise, the financing is dependent on the quality of the business plan. That’s where I think the center can have a significant impact,” Markin says.
The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, which received formal university recognition this past year, began as an instructional program in 1995. It has an endowment of $3.5 million, supporting educational, outreach and scholarship programs.
Markin sees the program allied, but not in competition, with WSU’s Small Business Development Center, which also serves the small business community statewide with advice and training.
The private resources available give the entrepreneurial center more latitude in operations than the publicly funded SBDC, Markin says, but he believes they will work cooperatively in many avenues.
The changing nature of the American economy, shifting from managerial to entrepreneurial, has provided the impetus for the development of the program, he says.
“The emergence of a truly entrepreneurial economy in the United States during the last 15-20 years has been perhaps the most significant and hopeful event to have occurred in recent business and social history,” Markin observes.
He describes entrepreneurship as a collection of purposeful tasks that can be organized as systematic work. Innovation, including the transfer and adaptation of technology and entrepreneurship, is part of every business executive’s job.
He says the center and teaching program are designed to provide education and training in the critical skills essential for business creation and innovation. “The mission is to build the human resources necessary to stimulate, develop and promote a climate for accelerated business development and expansion in the Washington State region.
“Its philosophical foundation is to promote and preserve the American free enterprise system based upon private ownership, individual responsibility, fair competition, minimum involvement by government, and the opportunity to become and entrepreneur.”

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