Center for Entrepreneurship

Saint Louis University’s Center for Entrepreneurship within the John Cook School of Business helps entrepreneurs combine their passion with business skills to produce high-performing organizations. Our mission is to deliver and develop world-class entrepreneurship education for all.

About the Center

Founded in 1987, the Center for Entrepreneurship is known for its innovative approach to entrepreneurship.

We have been a national leader in developing and delivering innovative programs to promote entrepreneurship through education. Our nationally ranked programs promote economic growth by encompassing passion, compassion, planning and performance.

Our programs are based on partnerships between the center and interested members of the community. Entrepreneurs and those who support entrepreneurship have contributed their time, insights and financial support to help us deliver an unprecedented range and quality of programs.

The Center for Entrepreneurship is always eager to meet with individuals and organizations that share our vision of building a region of entrepreneurs and have interest in forming relationships to help make that happen.

The excellence of the Center for Entrepreneurship is tied to the tireless efforts of dedicated volunteers who help connect the center to the community through delivering and expanding its diverse offerings. These include members of our advisory board and the more than 100 volunteers annually who work on our competitions, classes and other programs to help build a region of entrepreneurs.

What is Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is the engine of local, national and global economies. Entrepreneurship is an opportunity open to all, regardless of age, race or nationality.

Entrepreneurship reflects the mindset originally identified with those who start their own business — those with:

  • A willingness to take on risks and challenges to achieve their dreams
  • A passionate focus on their product or service and the needs of those who would benefit from it
  • An interest in innovation
  • A desire to be the first into a market or the first to make use of new technologies or rules or the first to offer an improvement on what people are used to.

The talents of classic entrepreneurs can benefit big corporations, nonprofits, and even government. At Saint Louis University, we teach our students that entrepreneurship can occur in corporate, social and independent ventures.

What is Entrepreneurial Leadership?

Entrepreneurial leadership reflects the special type of skill displayed by entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial leaders engage and inspire others to believe in the entrepreneur’s dream. It is leadership:

  • Not of what “is” but what “can be” because entrepreneurs often must find supporters to launch their product or service.
  • That is acutely aware of the need to tread lightly on resources and the community. It is also front-line leadership, because an entrepreneurial leader is clearly in the trenches with their people all the time, leading the way to the brighter imagined future.
  • Of birth and rebirth, retrenchment and renewal, and it is the form of leadership that leads to redirection and new directions.

Programs and Events

The Saint Louis University Center for Entrepreneurship promotes entrepreneurial mindsets and skills in a learning environment designed to make people better entrepreneurs. 

Educational Programming

SLU programs in entrepreneurship at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Learn more.

Competition and Awards

The Center for Entrepreneurship offers unique academic competitions which evaluate business ideas from their onset through business planning and capitalization stages.

At Saint Louis University, we believe that one of the best ways for students to develop a real-world orientation and gain traction for their ideas in the real world is through competition. Of course, feedback and prize money doesn’t hurt, either. We support a variety of competitions at the collegiate level and the high-school level.

Collegiate Competitions

High-School Competitions

Networking and Mentoring

The Center for Entrepreneurship connects entrepreneurs through networking, peer mentoring and other resources to help develop a successful business. We sponsor the following networking and mentoring programs:

  • Institute for Private Business (IPB)
  • Entrepreneurial Alumni Hall of Fame
  • Entrepreneurship Spotlight
  • Technology Transfer
  • iScholars
  • MedLaunch
  • SLU Law Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic
  • CMA Family Business Speaker Series
  • John Cook School of Business Student Clubs
  • SLU Entrepreneurship Club
  • Billicon Valley

The Center for Entrepreneurship also offers unique opportunities to support entrepreneurial efforts within our community. This includes programs that bring resources together to foster the ideas of students and alumni such as the Blue Diamonds Accelerator and the Billiken Angel Network.

Blue Diamonds Accelerator

SLU’s Blue Diamonds Accelerator provides training, mentoring and support to three non-graduating undergraduate and graduate students per semester who have an idea or existing business. Diamond in the Rough benefits include:

Funding: Each student receives a $1,500 award to help grow their business while at SLU
Mentoring: Advice and training in areas such as law, accounting and business planning from local entrepreneurs and mentors to help grow your business
Access: VIP access to SLU entrepreneurship activities
Promotion: Coverage for you and your business in SLU entrepreneurship programs, events and media, and promotion to the St. Louis community and beyond
Investment: Fast-track access to investors via the Billiken Angel Network
Giving Back: Pass on what you’ve learned and experienced to the student entrepreneurs following in your footsteps

The Blue Diamond Accelerator was brought to St. Louis by local entrepreneur Tim Fogerty of Bissinger’s Chocolate to support and develop practicing student entrepreneurs at SLU.

For more information, call the Center for Entrepreneurship at 314-977-3850.