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FAU College of Business Names Roland Kidwell Director of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship

Roland Kidwell, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Management Programs within the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University, has been named director of FAU’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship.

“We’re pleased to welcome Roland Kidwell as the new director of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship,” saidDaniel Gropper, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business. “Roland is a proven leader, and an internationally known scholar in entrepreneurship and family business. Entrepreneurship is a key driving force in a free enterprise economic system, and it is central to our mission in the College of Business. We’re committed to broadening the academic research and teaching activities of the Adams Center, as well as our outreach to the business community, with our goal to build a top 25 entrepreneurship program at FAU.”

Named in recognition of FAU graduate Scott H. Adams in 2001, the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship offers exciting learning opportunities for students to begin integrating their ideas with learned business skill sets, while engaging in the business community.

Kidwell arrived in July from the University of Wyoming, where he served on the management faculty for the past 10 years. He conducts research in entrepreneurship, family business, franchising, and various issues related to human resource management. A native of Washington, D.C., Kidwell started in journalism before earning his Ph.D. at Louisiana State University and beginning his academic career.

Kidwell has been working throughout the fall semester with his predecessor at the Adams Center, Kimberly Gramm, who is now the associate vice president of FAU Tech Runway, a public-private partnership formed in 2014 to foster technology start-ups.  

The Adams Center focuses on enhancing the student experience by providing practical applications for the education they receive in the classroom through such activities as the annual Business Plan Competition, in which teams of students have the opportunity to meet and network with experienced venture capital principals, early stage angel investors, successful entrepreneurs, and senior business leaders who serve as judges for the competition. Registration for this year’s competition is now open, with the final set for Monday, April 11.

Starting in January, the Adams Center offers the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, a fast-paced certificate course that empowers student and non-student entrepreneurs and small business owners with the tools to write a successful business plan, find financial support and design a successful operation. Each fall, the center participates in Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international celebration of the innovators and job creators, by hosting several events and programs for students of all disciplines and the greater FAU community.

The Center also has worked in conjunction with local entrepreneurship efforts including StartUp Palm Beach, which hosts an annual StartUp Weekend where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups. In the spring, the Center hosts Entrepreneur Learning Sessions, a series of free workshops designed to empower aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs.  

The Adams Center will continue to collaborate with Tech Runway on a variety of activities to support entrepreneurship and build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Florida, Gropper said. Kevin Cox, who is completing his Ph.D. at FAU, will serve as the Center’s assistant director and continue to teach the Entrepreneur Boot Camp course.

The Adams Center will seek to add faculty, continue its entrepreneur-in-residence mentoring program, and broaden its research activities, Kidwell said, particularly in the area of family business. The Center also is working on a grant with Tech Runway to encourage veterans to become entrepreneurs.  The grant is undertaken in a partnership with FAU’s Military and Veterans Affairs office, the Small Business Development Center at Palm Beach State College, and three other Florida universities.

“Entrepreneurship is thriving in South Florida,” Kidwell said. “Tech Runway and other elements of the university including the Research Park provide great opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. What we’re trying to do with the Adams Center is engage students and grow entrepreneurs across campus, not only in the College of Business but other places in the university. So we want to encourage that and graduate them into all of the entities that are available to help them grow their businesses.”

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