Tampa, FL (October 19, 2012) — USF held a roundtable discussion on entrepreneurship Friday afternoon, featuring U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee.
The roundtable discussion was prompted by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine ranking of USF’s Center for Entrepreneurship as the No. 11 graduate entrepreneurship program in the nation.
About 150 alumni, businesspeople, faculty, and students attended the event, which featured nine panelists discussing economic issues related to starting businesses. College of Business Dean Moez Limayem and Center for Entrepreneurship Director Michael Fountain were on the panel, as well as Center for Entrepreneurship alumna Chaz Brueggemann.
Limayem, who began the discussion, noted that the Center for Entrepreneurship was one of the few interdisciplinary centers in the nation, with collaboration between various colleges.
“We’re very happy to have you among us to help us celebrate a major accomplishment here,” Limayem told the congressman.
Ryan lauded the entrepreneurs in the room, saying they were the people who would grow the economy and create jobs.
“The spirit of entrepreneurship is the backbone of the economy that we’ve always enjoyed in America,” he said.
The Center for Entrepreneurship alumni were complimentary of the program, saying it had helped them achieve their career goals.
“The program inspires me,” said Brueggemann, who works in real estate. “I had reached a place in my career where I wasn’t really going anywhere, and I needed somewhere to grow.”
Jennifer Sineway, who had started a jewelry business as an undergraduate that led her to gain more entrepreneurship knowledge, said the program expanded her horizons.
“The curriculum gave me a vast skill set to pull from,” she said, adding that she now ran a medical equipment sales company.
“That’s a long way from jewelry,” Ryan said, laughing.
“It’s exciting to come and see great ideas,” Ryan said. “What we need to do is remove the barriers so that entrepreneurs can grow in this economy.”
Fountain said the rankings and awards are great accomplishments, but he is most proud of his students and what they have achieved.
“Out of this group, every one of them is a successful entrepreneur,” he said.