Support for interested students:
WSU is offering a free 1-credit class, "BA 482: An Entrepreneur's Approach to Business Development," to assist students interested in submitting a concept for the "Next Big Idea."
$2000 First Place
$1500 Second Place
$1000 Third Place
$500 Fourth Place
Wednesday, April 17:
"Next Big Idea" proposal deadline
Wednesday, April 24, 12:30 - 3:30 p.m.:
Presentation of "Next Big Ideas" before judges
Seven Hills Lounge
(Part of the Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity)
Friday, May 3:
Judges' decision on cash prizes
The complete proposal for The Next Big Idea should be no more than 10 pages of text. If you have appendices, they may take up to an additional 10 pages. Send your proposals to email@example.com.
Your Next Big Idea proposal should begin with a registration form [pdf] and a one-page executive summary that clearly covers the following: what the business is about, the idea itself; who will buy your product or service, the market that you are targeting; why your business is different or better in some way than other similar businesses, your competitive advantage; the location of your business (this might be or include the Internet); and how much the business will make by specific dates, your financial goals.
For more information:
Dean Charles Fox: 508-929-8257
Dean Frank Hall: 508-929-8333
Faculty teaching BA 482: An Entrepreneur's Approach to Business Development
Dr. Renuka Jain is a professor and chair of WSU's Business Administration and Economics Department. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her areas of expertise include management information systems, managing e-business, operations management with specialization in project management and supply chain management.
Dr. Joan (Jay) Mahoney is a professor and Sam Walton Fellow in WSU's Business and Economics Department. With a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in organizational behavior, Her areas of expertise include management, leadership, human resources and negotiation. She has been the advisor to the WSU Chapter of the international student organization ENACTUS and has mentored the team as they completed projects for small businesses, entrepreneurs, community and educational community partners. WSU's student teams compete with these projects at both the regional and national levels. Mahoney is also active in the Honors Program at WSU.
Dr. Maureen Stefanini, Ed.D. Boston University, M.S. Management, Sloan Fellow, M.I.T., M.S. and B.S. Worcester State University; Professor Department of Business Administration/Economics at Worcester State University.
She teaches Entrepreneurship, Women in Business and Financial Accounting.
Students in the Entrepreneurship classes over the past five years have had many opportunities to meet with business leaders, who have shared their experiences with them, both on campus and at their business sites. They have been invited and have participated in the Venture Forums, held on the second Tuesday of each month at WPI. Representatives from SCORE and the Small Business Administration have graciously shared their expertise with her students. A group of local business leaders met with us throughout the years to share their ideas and suggestions for developing small businesses and growing existing businesses. We have used a variety of templates for writing a business plan, and there are many readily available online as well as commercially.
Dr. Rodney Oudan is an associate professor of marketing in WSU's Department of Business Administration and Economics and program coordinator for the University's Master of Science in Management program. He holds a doctorate in business administration, specialization in marketing with honors from Nova Southeastern University, a master's degree in management from Cambridge College as well as a post-graduate certificate in economics and marketing from the University of the West Indies.
Dr. Oudan's primary research interests are in marketing's role in economic development, macro-marketing and strategic marketing management issues. He is the author of two books on marketing and has published research papers in peer-reviewed and peer-refereed academic journals. He has presented his research work at a number of international conferences including American Marketing Association Summer Educators' Conference and the Academy of Marketing Studies. Dr. Oudan has over 13 years of experience in strategic marketing and brand management. He has worked in the capacity of brand manager and product specialist at Nestlé, the largest nutrition and food company in the world, where he was responsible for the design, development, implementation and evaluation of marketing plans to stimulate demand, grow market share and brand equity to meet corporate objectives.
Robert K. O’Brien, founder of over five individual scholarships at Worcester State and sponsor of this competition, started his business career at the age of nine delivering newspapers. Graduating from Worcester State in 1958, he started out as a trainee at Hanover Insurance, and rose steadily through the ranks, retiring from the company as vice president in 1989. In 1990, O’Brien founded Health Reinsurance Management, Inc., a company, which along with some 10 other associated companies that he created, employed over 300 people.
Currently, O’Brien serves on the board of directors of American Security Life Insurance Company, headquartered in Uruguay, and holds the title as chief financial officer of O.G.R.E., a software developer for landlords, and president of HRMI, a venture capital firm that handles mortgages.
Kim Harmon is an award-winning nursing leader and entrepreneur. She has held various positions as a registered nurse, clinical director, adjunct nursing faculty, CEO and entrepreneur. Frequently recognized for her visionary leadership, she was featured in a national magazine as one of three successful female entrepreneurs in the United States. She is a 1995 graduate of the WSU nursing program, and in 2008, Harmon was the recipient of the Worcester State University’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Harmon is the founder and CEO of Life Enterprises, an organization focusing on healthcare consulting and small business coaching. She brings her “celebrate life” philosophy to work with individuals and companies on successfully reaching their goals. She serves on the Worcester State Foundation Board as well as several local non-profit organizations. She is a columnist for the Stonebridge Press and Vitality Magazine, and lives in Auburn with her two children.
An exceptional student from one of the first Worcester State University classes to graduate with a business administration degree, Craig Bovaird began his business journey after graduation in 1977 as a worker at Holden Plastics. He worked there for 20 years and ended his tenure as the company’s general manager.
At a time when local plastics companies were moving overseas, Bovaird decided to grow a specialized plastics maker called Built-Rite Tool & Die. Under his leadership, Built-Rite has experienced a 17 percent growth rate and has increased from 10 employees to 35 since 1999. A WSU Distinguished Professional Achievement Award recipient, Bovaird is recognized for using his WSU education wisely, providing jobs for Central Massachusetts residents, and contributing to the region’s vitality. In 2007, he was recognized by the U.S Small Business Administration as Massachusetts Small Business Person of the Year.
David Rumrill is a senior vice president, managing over $300 million in assets at Morgan Stanley in Wellesley, Mass. He began his business career shortly after graduating in 1991 from Bridgewater State University. In 1992, Rumrill became a licensed securities broker and acquired a business position at Fidelity Investments. Through continuous hard work and determination, he achieved the certified financial planner designation in 1996 and obtained his insurance and commodity licenses in 2001.
Today, Rumrill serves as a board member for Peer Health Exchange, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and Celebrities for Charity. He has also invested in various venture capital companies, including Narragansett Beer, and has taken pride in watching such companies expand and grow. Rumrill likes applying his professional experience to advise and help groups of people manage their personal finances. For fun, he enjoys spending time with his family and playing basketball and golf.
Patrick Donlon is a portfolio management associate at Morgan Stanley. He is responsible for client investment analysis and performance reporting. His areas of expertise include equities, private placements, and venture capital. Pat is a CFP Practitioner. He holds a B.S. in finance from Boston College, where he graduated cum laude.