Neeley Entrepreneurship Program recognized nationally

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    The Neeley Entrepreneurship Program was named the 2011 National Model Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program at the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship annual conference.

    Out of the 47 schools that entered, the Neeley Entrepreneurship Program was one of three finalists that presented a formal presentation at USASBE’s annual conference in South Carolina, according to a news release from the university.

    Ray Smilor, a professor at the Neeley School, said what set the university’s program apart from the other finalists was the emphasis placed on the philosophical approach to entrepreneurship.

    “I think the judges were genuinely impressed with our philosophy and approach, which has to do with incorporating the values in the ventures,” Smilor said.

    Smilor said TCU’s program focused on accessing students’ core values and talents and applying them to entrepreneurship.

    “[Students can] create a company that not only makes money but creates meaning for everybody associated with it,” Smilor said.

    Senior marketing major Kevin Gibbs said the recognition will benefit the university as a whole.

    With the 2011 National Model Undergraduate Program, the Neeley School will be another accolade for the university, Gibbs said.

    Keith Hmieleski, assistant professor of management, said he was responsible for forming the “values theme” of the program’s proposal. By applying student’s values and talents, students become fully engaged in the work they do, Hmieleski said.

    “[Students will] have the innate ability to do it, and at the end of the day it will be meaningful to them as well,” Hmieleski said.

    Smilor, Hmieleski and Director of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center Brad Hancock were the team of presenters at the conference.

    Smilor said it was the collaborative effort between themselves and others over the past 10 years that helped the program gain the achievement and recognition from USASBE, the largest academic association for entrepreneurship in America.

    According to the university news release, Smilor’s personal achievements were also recognized. Smilor received the John E. Hughes Award for his contributions to entrepreneurship throughout his 30 years of involvement in the field.

    Curt B. Moore, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, was also recognized for his individual research in the field of entrepreneurship, Smilor said.

    “It was a triple crown for us at TCU,” Smilor said.