The Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Michigan State University welcomes five successful Spartan entrepreneurs into its Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program’s inaugural cohort.
Starting this fall, students in the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s globally recognized program can expect to receive even more in-depth, one-to-one mentorship and learning experiences. Open to all majors, students who are part of the institute’s programming explore entrepreneurship as a career path and hone their entrepreneurial mindset.
Burgess Institute 2020–2021 EIR Cohort
• Jasmene Bowdry (B.S. Fashion Merchandising, ’05) is a retail strategist and fashion entrepreneur. She launched SHIFT StyleHouse®, a contemporary clothing boutique for the modern renaissance woman. Joining her love of business and passion for fashion, Bowdry also founded The Boutique Teacher, LLC, which provides both current and aspiring boutique owners with proven retail strategies to grow and scale their online businesses.
• Curtis Daniel III (B.S. Psychology, ’95) is co-founder and CEO of Patchwerk Recording Studios. Under Daniel, Patchwerk Studios has been the home to more than a dozen Grammy-nominated audio engineers and over 100 gold and platinum records. Patchwerk has also been the creative force behind several educational programs and music events, such as Music University, Weekend Workshops, I Do Music, and R&B Live.
• Stacey Marsh (B.A. Marketing, ’86) is the co-founder and former CEO of Flatout Flatbread. She lives by the simple words her father said to her,” Never wonder ‘what if.'” In 2015, she and Flatout Flatbread co-founder, her husband, Michael (B.A. Marketing, ’85), successfully sold their company to Lancaster Colony. Today, she enjoys giving back and helping young entrepreneurs bring their dreams to life.
• John Rood (B.A. International Relations and Political Theory, ’05) founded Next Step Test Preparation, which grew from a two-person tutoring operation to a market leader in pre-health entrance exam test preparation before selling to private equity. Today, he is the managing director at Greenrood Holdings LLC, which invests in education and edtech businesses.
• Jim Wirth (B.A. Accounting and Information Systems, ’89) is a co-founder and CEO at GiantMouse, LLC, and owner and CEO of Golden Gate Goods, LLC. Wirth started his career as a Computerized Information Systems Auditor at Price Waterhouse. He co-founded BASE Consulting Group in the San Francisco Bay Area, which merged with Knightsbridge Solutions before being acquired by Hewlett-Packard.
A vision outlined in 2012 has carried through to today: The Burgess Institute’s team believes the same skills that make for successful entrepreneurs also make for successful humans. Further, Michigan State University is the destination for students to launch their high-impact, entrepreneurial journeys.
“The Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation empowers students to learn through action,” said Paul Jaques, the institute’s managing director of venture creation. “By providing campus-wide programs, courses, and resources, we’re watching how students have the freedom to test their ideas. They fail, they learn from their mistakes and make decisions about how to refine their processes. Together, we nurture an entrepreneurial mindset, improve empathy skills, and, in many cases, take new ventures to market.”
With the EIR program’s advent, student entrepreneurs can expect a more profound, meaningful experience in creating and launching their startups.
Christopher Sell, a social innovator and the Burgess Institute’s director of alumni and entrepreneur engagement, brings together Spartans from across the nation. Since 2016, Sell has been laying the foundation for entrepreneurial alumni, connecting them with students building startups at Michigan State University. Of the 2020–2021 inaugural cohort, Sell believes, “. . . [w]e couldn’t ask for a more passionate, more dedicated group of Spartans. 2020’s EIR cohort brings accomplished entrepreneurs, innovators, and professionals to the table. These Spartans offer students a diversity of thought, backgrounds, and industry expertise.”
The venture creation process is a challenge, which is why 2020’s inaugural cohort welcomes alumni who demonstrate coaching and advising savvy, not to mention a deep capacity to understand the role and responsibility mentors play in students’ daily lives.
Sell goes on to say, “Across their year with us, EIRs are expected to meet at minimum two hours per week with their mentees. From professional advice to listening and thinking through some of the most challenging problems our students face as creators, these mentors are here to prepare our students for a 21st-century career and economy.”
The EIR selection process focuses on applicants’ track records, availability, and deep commitment to giving back.
“It’s an honor,” says Jasmene Bowdry, who joins this first cohort. Bowdry is a retail strategist, fashion entrepreneur, and founder of SHIFT StyleHouse®, a contemporary clothing boutique for modern renaissance women. “I’m committed to helping our students find their passions and look forward to watching them grow.”
Stacey Marsh, co-founder and former CEO of the successful Flatout Flatbreads also joins the 2020–2021 cohort. “What I find most inspiring about this program is its real-world applications. Its tangibility. Right now, especially, we crave meaningful connections. This program harnesses that desire.”