New $1 Million Ratcliffe Grant Boosts Entrepreneurship, Innovation
The grant is payable over ten years with a primary focus on helping students involved in the Center for Innovation and Growth (CIG).
"We are deeply grateful to Carole Ratcliffe '68, her late husband, Philip, and the Ratcliffe Foundation for this wonderful showing of support," said BW President Richard Durst. "Entrepreneurship and innovation will be key elements for future job creation as well as the recovery of our regional and local economy. These funds will help us provide truly distinctive opportunities for our students as we prepare them to be leaders in meeting this challenge."
The Baldwin Wallace University Center for Innovation and Growth was purposefully designed to facilitate student-faculty-business partner collaborations and small group discussions, according to CIG director Peter Rea. Its location within the Thomas Family Center for Science and Innovation enables students of all majors to come together and share ideas with the goal of sparking interdisciplinary discussion of science, technology, business and innovation.
Nurturing Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs
Approximately 40 students are selected competitively each year from majors across the curriculum to be CIG Student Fellows. The program provides BW students the opportunity to meet global and local leaders in innovation, to work on projects that will give them first-hand experience with innovators and to explore concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship with other CIG student and faculty fellows. Students become more attuned to recognizing opportunity, managing risk, knowing who they are, and investing in social capital. They emerge from the program with an understanding that entrepreneurship is a viable career option.
Over the past year, the Center also worked with coaches in each of BW's 23 varsity sports to create another fellows program for student-athletes. Through coursework, practical application and leadership opportunities, the new program helps those students consider entrepreneurship and innovation guided by integrity as definite career options. Forty students are expected to participate each year.
Gaining Real-World Insights, Experiences
"These two programs provide a distinctive experience for BW students," said Rea. The best of these students are further screened and selected to participate in CIG Growth Projects. These offer hands-on, real life business and marketing consulting projects with a variety of businesses in our area. The students are guided by a CIG professional, but each of them plays an active role in voice of the customer interviews, industry analysis and review of data leading to a final consulting report. The student team presents its findings to the client company's senior management team.
"Each of these experiences, from field research to board room presentation, provides an unparalleled skill set for our graduates. It gives them insights into business ownership and career connections beyond graduation," said Rea.
Carole Ratcliffe graduated from Baldwin Wallace in 1968 and went on to a successful career in business and a spot on the BW Board of Trustees. Philip Ratcliffe was a successful real estate developer in the Baltimore area and CEO of Maryland Management Company in Hanover, Md. He was recognized for his love of business and his career served as testimony to the belief that true desire and an entrepreneurial orientation could yield amazing results.