The Center for Entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University's John Cook School of Business has received a $2.2 million long-term gift from local entrepreneur Jim Allsup.
The gift from Allsup, founder of Allsup Inc., a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veteran's disability appeal and Medicare services, is the largest in the Center's 25-year history. The investment will enable the expansion of outreach programs for youth and high school students.
"This significant and generous gift will strengthen SLU's commitment to serving our community by allowing us to reach even more young people through our nationally recognized entrepreneurship center," said University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. "On behalf of everyone at Saint Louis University, we thank Jim Allsup for his outstanding leadership and his unwavering support of our mission."
Allsup currently sponsors the Center's Allsup Summer Academy, a weeklong immersive summer program at the Cook School, that brings high school students from across the country together to explore, learn, develop and present innovative solutions to real world market needs.
"The big picture is to introduce kids to entrepreneurship at a young age and help integrate concepts within their school curriculum," Allsup said.
"Our ultimate goal is to make youth entrepreneurship a year-round initiative at the Cook School and SLU. This means smart kids who want to take a different approach to pursuing their innovative business ideas can find the tools to help them succeed."
Ellen Harshman, Ph.D., J.D., dean of the Cook School, lauds the commitment of today's successful entrepreneurs in helping develop the entrepreneurial leaders of the future.
"Jim Allsup's generous gift, along with his commitment to developing the entrepreneurial spirit, is the foundation that helps provides budding entrepreneurs with the tools and knowledge to turn an idea into an actual product or service," Harshman said.
Tim Hayden, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, said the use of learning, problem solving and case studies to instill an understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset is invaluable.
"For the past 39 years, Saint Louis University has been teaching the next generation of college entrepreneurs," Hayden said. "We have been able to leverage that experience and help introduce entrepreneurial education to a younger audience because of gifts like this from Jim Allsup."
Allsup's donation not only allows for the expansion of programs for youth but also provides a view to how entrepreneurship partners with the SLU philosophy to be people for others and create businesses like Allsup that serve those with very specific needs.