Bemidji State University launches Institute of Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

BEMIDJI, Minn. (November 24, 2009) — The College of Business, Technology and Communication at Bemidji State University has launched a new institute, combining the resources of several existing outreach enterprises on campus with new initiatives to create the Institute of Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The institute will combine the 360 Degrees Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, Northwest Regional Small Business Development Center and Marketing Assistance and Research Solutions with three new initiatives, the Entrepreneurial Scholarship Pathways, Technology Assistance and Research Solutions and FastTrack™ Entrepreneurship programs.

Karen White, executive director of 360 Degrees, has been named the executive director of the institute.

“The Institute of Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation will be a front door for the businesses, entrepreneurs, and technology innovators and high school students in the state of Minnesota and across the region,” said Dr. James Maxwell, dean of the college. “This endeavor will make it easier for our constituents to access the resources and expertise available in the college. It offers one-stop shopping to the community.”

The institute allows the college to combine its externally-focused service areas into one central organization, enabling the college to streamline its efforts and combine resources while at the same time allowing each of the institute’s components to focus on their particular areas of expertise. The endeavor also provides the college with a grant writer, which will allow for new revenue streams and help provide professional development opportunities for the college’s faculty.

The institute will also prove unparalleled opportunities for the college’s students to receive hands-on experience and networking opportunities with real-world clients, and also allow the college’s faculty to become more engaged with the community through consulting opportunities.

Initial reaction to the institute has been positive, Maxwell said.

“There is interest in and need for services like MARS and TARS,” he said. “Businesses need assistance with marketing and research, prototyping and design technology. The institute gives our college the opportunity to find out what the market really wants and needs, and it encourages our students to stay in Bemidji and the northern Minnesota region when they graduate from Bemidji State.”

360 Degrees
360 Degrees Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence is a partnership of nine institutions led by Bemidji State University which includes Central Lakes College, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Northland Community and Technical College, Northwest Technical College, Pine Technical College, Riverland Community College, Saint Paul College, and St. Cloud Technical College. 360 Degrees was initiated by the Governor of Minnesota to strengthen the state’s manufacturing economic sector and serve the needs of the industry by cultivating a potential future workforce through more flexible educational opportunities via the concept of the seamless career pathway.

Northwest Regional Small Business Development Center
The Minnesota Small Business Development Centers provide no-cost, professional business consulting to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs on a variety of business topics. Consulting services are customized to each client’s needs and are delivered in a confidential one-on-one environment.
The Northwest Regional SBDC in Bemidji supports Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Polk, Pennington, Red Lake and Roseau counties and also has locations in Park Rapids, Thief River Falls and Crookston.

Marketing Assistance and Research Solutions
Marketing Assistance and Research Solutions is a faculty-directed, student-run center uniquely serving the northwest Minnesota business community while providing Bemidji State’s marketing students with hands-on learning experiences. MARS research services include feasibility studies, Internet and exploratory research, focus groups, group interviews, telephone surveys, mail surveys and strategic management analysis. MARS has completed projects for area businesses and organizations including variety of University departments and offices.

Technical Assistance and Research Solutions
Technical Assistance and Research Solutions will provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs and businesses to support the commercialization of new products. TARS services include rapid prototyping, design technology assistance and a variety of other technology-related services.

Entrepreneurial Scholarship Pathways
Entrepreneurial Scholarship Pathways is a program for high school students, designed to show how those students can apply their knowledge to the creation of economic opportunities for themselves and their communities. The free, classroom-based program includes program materials, lesson plans and multiple optional program extensions that instructors can use to supplement virtually any existing economics, business, social studies or other similar high school course.

FastTrack entrepreneurship program
FastTrack is a comprehensive package of learning programs and materials for entrepreneurs. It provides existing and aspiring entrepreneurs a non-academic environment to develop the business insights and skills, leadership experiences and valuable networking opportunities they need to start, grow and lead a business. Since 1993, the FastTrack program has served nearly 300,000 entrepreneurs.

For more information about the Institute of Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, please contact Dr. James Maxwell, dean of the College of Business, Technology and Communication at (218) 755-3730.

Institute director Karen White can be reached at (218) 755-2208.

• College of Business, Technology and Communication:
• 360 Degrees:,
• Small Business Development Center:

Editors Note
The preferred presentation of the 360 degrees name is 360°, using the “degrees” glyph. If you have the capability to present the name using the glyph, you are encouraged to do so.