In the News: How a St. Thomas Program Is Elevating Local Businesses

Laura Dunham, dean of the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, recently spoke with Twin Cities Business about how the unique Community Entrepreneurship Program – which Dunham helps teach – is working to educate, unify and uplift local entrepreneurs, while also providing a world-class, hands-on education to business students.

From the story:

In its first year, the program showed that there was “tremendous need” in the community for something like it, said Laura Dunham, dean of the St. Thomas Opus College, associate professor, and one of the main creators of the program. With room for only 30 entrepreneurs in the program’s first round, the school ended up with 90 people waitlisted.

“I always say it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur because it’s a challenging task. It requires a lot of different skills that most people need help tapping into. It requires a network. It requires finance. It requires emotional support,” Dunham said.

The second cohort launches in mid-March. It comes with a $500 price tag, but $475 scholarships are available for anyone with a need for one. Though this next cohort is now full, a recent pool of funding means more programs can be offered in the future.

The program was awarded a $500,000 GHR Foundation grant. This is in addition to $630,000 received in federal appropriations for the program. The financial support allows St. Thomas to scale the program, Dunham said. More people can now be trained to run the boot camps. The school can also further build its mentor pool.