By Micaela Myers
Patrick Kreiser, the University of Wyoming’s new Rile Chair of Entrepreneurship and Leadership, wants to spread the word that every student and every community member can benefit from an entrepreneurial mindset. “Even if they don’t think of themselves as entrepreneurs, everyone can think entrepreneurially—focusing on opportunities and the positive influence that you can have,” he says.
Kreiser comes to UW from Iowa State University, where he most recently served as the Bob and Kay Smith Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship and associate professor of management. He was drawn to this new position because of the strong support for entrepreneurship from both the state and across the university.
“It’s a perfect fit in a lot of ways with the culture of Wyoming and being very self-reliant and independent but knowing how to form and develop relationships with others,” he says.
Based in the College of Business Department of Management and Marketing, Kreiser chairs a task force revamping the entrepreneurship curriculum at UW. (Read more about the Rile endowment.) He looks forward to working with students from across campus and helping students develop cross-disciplinary teams and projects.
“We want to be able to combine the academic piece—the theory and concepts—with the application piece,” Kreiser says. “I think one of the things the task force is excited about doing is promoting that integration where students develop the skills they need but can also go out and hone them in the real world.” This involves students working with entrepreneurs and businesses in the state as well as creating their own businesses.
Entrepreneurship is a mindset, Kreiser says: “Students may think it’s about starting a business, but I also think it’s more broadly about how you think about and approach the world. Whether it’s going to work for a family business or a small firm or a corporation or going back to work on the ranch, entrepreneurship is about taking advantage of opportunities and controlling your own destiny.”
Kreiser views UW’s new Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship like a startup, with great potential to impact students and residents across the state. “There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity, and it’s something that hasn’t been fully unleashed as of yet,” he says. “There are so many exciting things we can do—from the Business Creation Factory to student curriculum to outreach throughout all of Wyoming. I think it’s going to be great for the state and the university.” (Read more about the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship here.)
He looks forward to being part of an effort that will invigorate the state’s economy and encourage more students to stay in Wyoming and start their own businesses. Kreiser says, “When you start changing a student’s mindset to be more focused on what they can accomplish with an optimistic outlook and hard work, then the sky is the limit.”
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