March 5, 2014
West Chester University and the Dr. Edwin Cottrell Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership have been honored by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE). The center is one of only three educational institutions in the nation selected as a finalist for USASBE's Special Recognition in Entrepreneurship Education Innovation Award.
The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Innovation Awards recognize innovation in entrepreneurship education at the levels of pedagogy, teaching, scholarship and outreach. These innovations in entrepreneurship education are assessed in terms of creativity, quality, sustainability and impact. USASBE recognized West Chester's innovative Cottrell Center Internship program.
The Cottrell Center is under the direction of Monica Zimmerman, Ph.D., who oversees the internship program. Zimmerman is a professor in the Department of Management who teaches entrepreneurship and strategic management at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
Through the Cottrell Center Internship program, select West Chester University juniors and seniors are placed in Pennsylvania-based small and start-up companies to learn firsthand about the opportunities, risks and challenges inherent in launching a business. Students earn three credits for 180 hours of work, plus a stipend, while companies that may not have money to hire interns gain access to their talent and engage students willing to learn the entrepreneurship ropes. Students set goals for their internship experience and are paid a portion of their stipend when they accomplish each goal.
Initial funding for the internship program came from a PASSHE grant, with interim funding from WCU's College of Business and Public Affairs as well as individual donors. The Delaware Valley Regional Economic Development Fund provided funding for the 2013 and 2014 interns.
USASBE is the world's largest independent, professional, academic organization dedicated to advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship, with more than 1,000 members from universities and colleges, for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations, and the public sector. The association fosters entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurship research, entrepreneurship outreach, and public policy.