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by Melissa Mejia, news editor

HPU opened an Entrepreneurship Center last semester, with a mission to connect HPU students with local business and community leaders and develop entrepreneurial interest among HPU students. The center’s focus, according to its director, Dr. Bee-Leng Chua, is promoting entrepreneurial ventures by HPU students and community members through integration of entrepreneurship education, outreach, and applied research.

“ The vision is to have HPU graduates thinking about starting businesses,” said Chua.
Chua was brought to HPU by Dr. Charles Steilen, dean of the College of Business Administration. “I saw that there was a need,” said Steilen, who believes that the Entrepreneurship Center serves as a connection to the Hawai‘i community. “It gives us a tremendous opportunity to get students involved,” he added.

Being an entrepreneur, Chua said, is about having an idea, or a solution to a problem, and going through the process of turning that idea or solution into a reality. This includes research, planning, and writing a business plan. However, Chua specified, “You don’t have to be a business major to be an entrepreneur.”

“ Entrepreneurs,” she added, “come from different educational backgrounds like doctors, artists, dancers.”

The center aims to engage students in entrepreneurial studies from across the different majors offered at HPU. “We want [students] to feel that HPU gave them the necessary tools to be successful,” she said.

Chua said that entrepreneurial studies can help an individual succeed in the corporate level. “You have to be able to identify and scan for opportunities, do competitor analysis, make calculated risks,” Chua said. “Knowing this can give you a competitive edge to get ahead in a company.”

To help students pursue their entrepreneurial ventures throughout the semester, the center, along with several student organizations—the MBA Club, the Project Management Club, the Saudi Student Club, and Students in Free Enterprise [SIFE]—is hosting a series of mixers, workshops, and seminars with guest speakers, all leading up to the HPU New Venture Challenge, a business plan writing competition that is planned to become an annual event climaxing in May.

HPU will also participate in the Stanford University Innovation Tournament 2008. The tournament, with entrants from universities around the world, aims to leverage available resources and take action with the goal of creating value.

Students work in teams and have a week to implement their ideas and prepare a video. This tournament will start on Feb 22, with a 1:30 p.m. kick-off event in Warmer Auditorium, and will end on Feb 28.

Also the center will be hosting an on going Entrepreneurial Leadership Series. For more information, call Chua at 687-7068 or e-mail: entrepreneurship@hpu.edu.


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