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UM Innovation Center honored as best emerging program

The University of Mississippi Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been recognized as one of the best up-and-coming centers of its kind.

The Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers honored the CIE with the Award for Emerging Entrepreneurship Center at its annual conference Oct. 31 in Gainesville, Florida. The CIE shared the first-place win with the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

This was the CIE’s first time to compete for the award, which is given to the best emerging university entrepreneurship center.

“For the center, this is our first big recognition outside of the state,” said Rich Gentry, CIE director. “We’ve been so fortunate to find such a strong base of support amongst our students and alumni, and it is such an honor to bring back something to the university that validates that commitment. We can’t wait to get started on the Gillespie Business Plan competition and the rest of our spring program as we build our center into the best program in the SEC.”

Award recipients participated in a multiround judging process that began in July and concluded in October. Each applying center had to be nominated, and a five-page description of the centers’ goals and programs was submitted to the judging committee. For the Award for Emerging Entrepreneurship Center, the nominated centers had to be established less than five years ago.

“In the two years since the center was established, we have been working tirelessly to bring a world-class program to Ole Miss,” Gentry said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do still, but this award says to me that we’re on the right track.”

Clay Dibrell, associate professor of management and holder of the William W. Gresham Jr. Entrepreneurial Professorship, is also the CIE’s executive director. He said the recognition wouldn’t have been achieved without the hard work of the faculty and the center’s campus partners.

“Our goal is to build off the excitement and energy generated by this award, as we strive to enhance our programming efforts to make the University of Mississippi an internationally recognized destination for students who want to create new ventures in a nurturing environment,” Dibrell said.

The Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, established in 1997, was developed to facilitate collaboration between the world’s entrepreneurship centers. Almost 300 universities from the United States and other countries are represented within the group.

The CIE, which is dedicated to the success of student entrepreneurs at Ole Miss, was developed to inspire students to create innovative businesses and also help increase the economic value of all businesses in Mississippi. The CIE is an independent program that runs in conjunction with the university’s School of Business Administration.