Skip to main content
MenuSearch & Directory

SLU’s Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship Wins National Entrepreneurship Education Program Award

by Maggie Rotermund
Media Inquiries

Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist

Reserved for members of the media.

ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship has been named the best emerging entrepreneurship program by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE).

Cook Hall

The Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship is part of the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. SLU file photo. 

SLU was one of three finalists for the honor. The Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship competed against the Arnold Center for Entrepreneurship at Stephen F. Austin State University and the University of Buffalo.

The Model Emerging Program Award honors colleges and universities with comprehensive, high-quality educational programs that successfully train future entrepreneurs. The winning program was named during the USASBE 2024: Forging the Future Together annual conference Jan. 10-14.

“With over 800 members, it is an honor to have our program recognized by USASBE as a leader in entrepreneurship education. It is a win for the Center, but more importantly our students,” said Lewis Sheats, executive director of the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship .

The USASBE awards recognize colleges and universities with bold and innovative programs that provide evidence-based, creative, high-quality, sustainable, and impactful courses and programs in entrepreneurship education.

Sheats noted that SLU was eligible for the emerging program award after the Chaifetz Center relaunched in 2021. Originally founded in 1987, the Chaifetz Center develops and delivers innovative programs to promote entrepreneurship through education. The Center went through a years-long hiatus period prior to Sheats’ hiring.

In the two years, the Center has launched new programming, hosted 50-plus events, and created a new space for student interaction. The Chaifetz Center also started a new mentorship program, which includes events where participants can engage with each other and the program topic and an online platform for students to interact with SLU alums and mentors worldwide. 

The Center relaunched its Hall of Fame this past fall to honor current and former students. The 2023 honorees included Student Entrepreneur of the Year Firaol Ahmed, a junior with a successful coffee roasting business, and Young Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Luis Manta, a recent SLU graduate who founded Seoul Juice while still a student. 

“We see this drive and perseverance to go out and do it,” Sheats said. “They want to start now, while they are at SLU, and working on entrepreneurial projects at the Chaifetz Center provides an experience that you just can’t teach from reading a book.”

The Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship team accepts the USASBE award Jan. 13. Submitted photo.

Students are also coming to the classroom in higher numbers. The School of Business has seen a growth in enrollment and interest in entrepreneurship classes and programs.  

“The growth in curiosity among students is encouraging,” Sheats said. “The concepts the students have keep getting better and because of that, we are seeing an improvement in outcomes.”

After being named a finalist for the USASBE honor, the Chaifetz Center leadership team prepared a video introduction for the judging panel and participated in a Zoom Q&A before heading to the USASBE conference on Jan. 11. The award was handed out during a ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 13.


Founded in 1981, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) is an inclusive community of educators, researchers, and entrepreneurs advancing entrepreneurship education through bold teaching, scholarship, and practice. Membership is open to all, as is attendance at USASBE’s hallmark annual conference. USASBE also publishes a peer-reviewed academic journal, Entrepreneurship Education & Pedagogy, and develops a variety of helpful resources and professional development opportunities for entrepreneurship educators as they create a positive impact.

About the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business

Founded in 1910, the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business at Saint Louis University has shaped the future of industry for more than a century. As one of the oldest business schools west of the Mississippi, the Chaifetz School has built a reputation as a leader in business education committed to innovation, inclusion and impact and recognized with eight undergraduate and graduate programs nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 15,200 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.