From the Academic Director

In a recent conversation John Horowitz ‘13, observed that “the Pillsbury Institute and Entrepreneurship have come out of nowhere these last two years”. It was so gratifying to hear that from a student here at SHA and caused me to reflect a bit on PIHE activity. Our students are studying Entrepreneurship in ever growing numbers, students starting businesses continue to rise, and for the first time we see students accepting employment positions related to corporate entrepreneurship with some of the best known brands in the hospitality industry. That is an important step for Entrepreneurship at SHA; students getting jobs (in part) as a result of studying Entrepreneurship. 

Our Hospitality Business Plan Competition once again showcased five “launchable” businesses and I know that three of the five finalists have had at least one inquiry from potential investors. I again would like to acknowledge all the students who developed business plans for this competition. This is a learning experience that carries real-life lessons and I am especially pleased to see a sizeable portion of the competition prize money support the potential launch of new businesses.

In addition we have seen the first of our SHA Case Study series thanks to collaboration between Sr. Lecturer Susan Fleming and PIHE board member and CEO of PAR Springer-Miller Systems, Inc., Larry Hall. Their case focuses on hospitality entrepreneurship and innovation in a corporate environment.

Entrepreneurship course offerings have also increased to accommodate the growing demand from students at SHA as well as other schools and colleges across campus.

None of this would be possible without the support and efforts of faculty and staff but I want to offer a special word of gratitude to my colleagues Susan Fleming and Adam Klausner as well as the PIHE Program Manager Kristen Ciferri. In addition, the PIHE Entrepreneurs in Residence have had a noticeable impact on the value that the institute provides for our students. Thanks to Nick Bayer (Saxby’s Coffee), Winston Lord (Venga), Liz Ngonzi (Amazing Taste, LLC), and Jacob Wright (High Peaks Hospitality). Lastly, the PIHE Advisory Board supports our efforts in more ways than I can convey in this newsletter and while so much of what they do is behind the scenes, they are instrumental in the achievements of the PIHE. Please take a moment to visit our list of Advisory Board members and corporate sponsors who contribute in so many ways to our success.

This will be my last column as PIHE Academic Director as I will be stepping down effective June 1, 2013 to become a full time Sr. Lecturer. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our alumni, students, and corporate partners. I am confident that PIHE will continue to deliver on its mission of giving students the chance to practice the entrepreneurial skills they have learned and to develop a portfolio of life experiences critical to success as entrepreneurs and innovators – whether starting their own businesses, or taking the corporate route.

-Neil Tarallo