Entrepreneurial Opportunities for YSU Students 

By Tina Kalenits

Youngstown State University students can take part in the John Burgan Entrepreneurship Prize of $2,400 all dedicated to help create a business startup or keep a student-run business afloat. 

Patrick Burgan, CEO of Burgan Real Estate, said he wanted to continue what his father did for him several years ago through establishing the entrepreneurship prize. When Burgan was 10 years old, his father, John Burgan, loaned him $2,400 to pursue his business idea of selling wristwatches.

According to Patrick Burgan, that business was successful. He later bought his father’s business, Burgan Real Estate, in 2004, six years before he graduated with a general studies undergraduate degree from YSU. 

Joseph Angelo, entrepreneurship director at the Williamson College of Business Administration, said he will be facilitating the interface between the student proposals and the Burgan family.

“We’re looking to identify a college student who’s got an idea that they’re interested in implementing, something that’s viable and generates some excitement,” he said.

The panel of judges will include Angelo, John and Patrick Burgan and other faculty and individuals from the business college, according to the college’s dean, Betty Jo Licata. Students will present their ideas to the panel.

“It’s a catalyst to encourage creativity. And it removes some barriers that might make them hesitant. The reward encourages [students] to reach outside their comfort zone to try something new,” Angelo said.

Licata said Patrick Burgan called her several months ago and was interested in establishing an award in honor of his father.

“We are excited to support the entrepreneurial dreams of our students, and whether they choose to stay in the Valley or not, we want to support them in pursuing new business ventures, creating new jobs and creating wealth in the community,” Licata said.

Patrick Burgan said he wants to continue this prize for as long as the university will let him.

The award was open to all current YSU students, and the proposals were due Feb. 14. Angelo said the process will take until the end of the spring 2020 semester. 

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