At Medgar Ever College there has been an absolute recognition in the School of Business that the adaptation and evolution of skills, abilities and strategies was essential in order for the entrepreneur of modern Crown Heights to be successful. The strategy employed begins with the recognition that entrepreneurial skills are important and useful not only in the startup and management of small businesses, but also within the general corporate community, government, science and nonprofit organizations. The School of Business is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and has produced over 4,500 graduates. It is within that construct that the School of Business seeks to inculcate an appreciation of flexibility, mental agility, vision, resilience and imagination in students, not only in the School of Business but throughout the College. This intentional broad focus is the result of recognizing that the entrepreneurial spirit and skill set has value throughout a range of career paths and option.
In the spirit of the scholarship and activism that were promoted by President Rudolph Crew a Babson College graduate Entrepreneurship & Experiential Learning (EEL) Training Lab was founded in September 2015 to empower and cultivate the work of a new generation of entrepreneurs and small business owners. The Entrepreneurship & Experiential Learning (EEL) Lab is located at our Carroll Street campus. The mission of the lab is to provide an academic environment that connects students, faculty and community stakeholders to business innovations through training that stresses entrepreneurship and experiential learning. A goal of the lab is to improve student engagement with local start-ups and small business owners as they participate in the dynamic growth taking place in Brooklyn. We are excited about this new opportunity for professional growth for students across the Medgar Evers college campus:
- Fund and execute various workshops, seminars, training and mentoring programs led to our students entering various in-house and external entrepreneurship competitions.
- Develop a more vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurship at Medgar Evers College students, alumni, and the Crown Heights community.
- Teach entrepreneurial business concepts to aspiring Medgar Evers College students who are small business owners, entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs. These concepts thought will includes fundamentals that are integral to growing start-ups and small businesses.
- Define a clear path for Medgar Evers entrepreneurially-minded students, alumni and the Crown Heights community to start or grow business ventures based in NYC and globally.
- Build a local platform for the next generation of social entrepreneurship innovation and technology entrepreneurs in Medgar Evers College and the Crown Heights community.
- To this end our students will compete in several local and national Business Pitch with mentoring sessions provided by Fullbridge Inc.
During the fall semester of 2014 a proposal was presented to the President Rudolph Crew and Provost Augustine Okereke for a Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Economic Development. At the time, there were no internal or external funds available to implement the proposal. President Rudolph Crew, in addition to a distinguished career as an educator and administrator, is also a graduate of Babson College. Babson College has been consistently nationally ranked as one of the best colleges for entrepreneurship education in the country. President Crew recruited a fellow classmate and former USA Today editor to support grant writing efforts of the School of Business. In addition to the grant writer, several faculty members and staff supported the grant writing initiative.
Letter of Inquires and proposals were written to several organizations. In addition to the School of Business efforts, President Crew bundled multiple institutional proposals for support and presented them to several donors for support. In addition to the School of Business individual grant proposal-writing efforts, partnerships were developed with other colleges to include Queensborough Community College, Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn College, and Long Island University Brooklyn. The partnerships were developed to leverage an opportunity to compete for the CUNY 2020 grant proposal for $7.7 Million in capital renovations and equipment for the Entrepreneurship and Experiential (EEL) Learning Lab. Other institutional partnerships related to the development of the grant and Medgar’s StartUp New York initiative were the New York Economic Development Council, CACCI, NY Poly Institute, Pratt School of Design, Chile School of Social Entrepreneurship, Menstat, and Steiner Studios. Collaborations also were developed with Princeton Keller Center for Entrepreneurship.
The net impact of the institutional and School of Business effort was increased funding and visibility for the College and the School. Medgar is the recipient of a $1.2 Million grant from the Carnegie Mellon Foundation of which the Entrepreneurship Center is funded for $400,000. The School of Business won with Queensborough Community College for a program grant from Santander bank. During the fall of 2015 the president and provost allocated a 1,500 sq. foot space on the 4th floor of the Carroll Street building for operations of the Entrepreneurship and Experiential Learning Training Lab. If the CUNY 2020 grant proposal is funded, the space will expand to 5,000 sq. feet.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – Dr. JoAnn Rolle
Bio of Dr. JoAnn Rolle (Ph.D.), Executive Director
Entrepreneurship Experiential Learning (EEL) Lab Dean School of Business, Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York
Dr. Jo-Ann Rolle has over three decades of experience in higher education, corporate and government operations. Dr. Rolle holds the Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Miami; she earned a Masters of Arts in Economics from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville; and completed the Ph.D. in Economics at Howard University. Dr. Rolle is a former Administrative Fellow of Harvard University and former fellow in the Price–Babson Symposium for Entrepreneurial Educators. Dr. Rolle is also a former George Washington University Rehabilitation fellow. Dr. Rolle served as an IBM visiting professor to Hampton University.
II. Specific Job Qualifications
- Dr. Rolle has over ten years of higher education administration experience, seven years of which are at the Chief Academic Officer level. She has served in senior level positions in a broad spectrum of public and private colleges and universities. She is currently the Dean of the School of Business at Medgar Evers College, City University of New York.
- Dr. Rolle has a proven track record as a leader who has the ability to engage diverse stakeholders to meet and exceed mission objectives. Dr. Rolle formally studied Diversity Management at Harvard University while serving as an Administrative fellow. Dr. Rolle also served several years as an IBM scientific and technical computing specialist for banking and finance applications. Dr. Rolle also holds social media certifications from Hootsuite.
- During her career, Dr. Rolle has demonstrated visionary collaborative leadership by engaging and empowering diverse stakeholders in designing and developing new programs that meet the needs of a changing and dynamic global market place.
- Dr. Rolle has significant experience creatively collaborating with federal, state, and local governments, as it relates to increasing opportunities for a diverse group of traditional and non-traditional students. Dr. Rolle also has significant experience in leveraging partnerships with major corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations to develop and sustain institutional program growth.
- Dr. Rolle has spent much of her consulting practice in economic development to include small business development.
- During her career as a corporate executive, business owner, and senior academic leader, Dr. Rolle has successfully identified new sources of funds, increased existing streams of revenue, and advocated for additional funding from the public and private sectors.