Since 2008, Donna Walsh has been helping students realize their potential as entrepreneurs.
Walsh, the program director of the Nathan H. and Frances T. Monus Entrepreneurship Center, which is housed within in the Williamson College of Business Administration, has worked with student entrepreneurs to make their visions become realities by helping them make advancements in business as a marketing instructor.
“We’re here to lend business planning and entrepreneurial expertise to anyone on campus who needs it,” Walsh said.
Sophomore Dan Warnick developed a mobile application that locates and rates public restrooms after taking an introductory business class taught by Walsh.
Walsh is also working with 52-year-old Jim Tricomi, who started his own DJ business with the help of the Small Business Development Center and the Ohio Microenterprise and Customized Employment Demonstration Project.
Most recently, Walsh worked to develop a new minor in entrepreneurship that will help students understand the entrepreneurial process, along with the problems and challenges in the business world.
Walsh anticipates that the 18-credit-hour minor will be available in the fall, but said that students who have taken such classes as Exploring Business and Elementary Accounting have already completed some of the necessary coursework for the minor.
“Entrepreneurship is not officially a minor yet, but the initial courses are available now,” Walsh said.
Tony Kos, assistant professor of management, said he doesn’t anticipate any problems that would prevent the minor from being available in the fall.
“We’re running it through curriculum review right now, and we hope to have it approved by the academic senate in the near future,” Kos said.
The idea of the minor excites Walsh because she said it is not exclusive to business majors; students from all majors are showing interest.
“Any student in any major across campus, if any student has an interest in, or thinks that some day they may own their own business, this is an outstanding minor,” Walsh said.
The proposed coursework, which includes a class in business plan development, will help bring students’ ideas to the table and give them a platform.
“It’s kind of like completing your coursework and making [your ideas] a reality as you take them,” Walsh said.
Walsh added that by the time students complete the minor, they will be ready to launch their proposed business plan.
“Any idea for starting a business fits,” Walsh said. “If they want to make it real, they will be ready for it.”
Kos added that entrepreneurship is a popular topic in the business world.
“Business people are looking to start their own business, and companies are interested in hiring people with their own ideas,” Kos said.
Walsh said the recent addition to the WCBA has increased the growth of the program.
“The new building has been tremendously helpful,” Walsh said. “It’s much easier with everyone and everything business being in one building.”
Walsh also helped bring college radio to the Youngstown community with Rookery Radio.
In 2009, she began working with communications professor Adam Earnheardt and his students to bring the project to life.
“Donna took our ideas and applied the necessary business strategies,” Earnheardt said. “The content was, and still is, up to the students, but my initial ideas were brought to life because she knew what to do with them.”
Earnheardt added that Rookery Radio wouldn’t have been possible without Walsh’s input.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Tricomi could not be reached for comment.