TitleSMART Center Request Date2012-11-29
DepartmentCollege of Business
RequestorJames Oakley Phone994-2090
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts  
Proposed Dates Start: Fall 2013 End:  
We propose the creation of the SMART (Student Managed Activities & Results Training) Center to serve as an ecosystem to facilitate a series of new activities centered on student, faculty, and community engagement. The activities of the SMART Center are designed to include faculty and students from all colleges and programs at MSU with the hope of creating a high level of cross-campus and community engagement. The SMART Center will provide students with the tools to build businesses upon graduation, but also provide a laboratory to explore the start-up process while at MSU, and hopefully graduate with a business in hand as well as a diploma.
Primary Objectives Addressed
Learning: The SMART Center will provide students with invaluable experience and skills for their professional careers (Objective L.1) with the intent of increasing job placement and further education rates (Objective L.3).
Engagement: The SMART Center will offer engagement opportunities with experienced professionals, new businesses, and members of the local business community (Objective E.1).
Integration: The SMART Center provides the necessary hands-on experience for students to integrate their classroom experience with application under the mentorship of faculty and professional experts (Objective I.1).
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Salaries       70000      2.5 
Benefits       9726       
Materials & Supplies              
Contracted Services              
Other Operations              
TOTAL 79726    2.5 
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

½ Admin/Professional FTE @ $30,000 (+ 32.0% for Benefits)

Equivalent of 1 Student FTE @ $20,000 (+ 0.63% for Benefits)

1 Entrepreneur-in-Residence per semester @ $20,000 ($10,000/semester) - stipend/honorarium

Describe the Proposal

Proposal Description

The College of Business proposes the creation of the SMART (Student Managed Activities & Results Training) Center to serve as an ecosystem to facilitate a series of new activities centered on student, faculty, and community engagement. The activities in the SMART Center will include the following: a business laboratory for start-up businesses created by students across campus, a consulting service staffed by students to work with the businesses housed in the laboratory (overseen by faculty and professional staff), a permanent Entrepreneur-in-Residence to serve as a mentor for the laboratory and consulting service as well as assist in the classroom and community, and the creation of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy which will serve as a forum for interested faculty, students, and members of the community to meet, present ideas, and share experience regarding starting businesses and the commercialization of business or product ideas.

While there are a number of schools around the country that offer one or two of the activities described in this proposal, there are no other schools of which we are aware that wholly offer all of these activities within a single program or school. The potential to create an ecosystem for the conception and development of new businesses within the College of Business SMART Center offers the opportunity for short-term and long-term job creation. As noted by the Kauffman Foundation Research Series (Reedy & Litan, 2011), new businesses are being started in smaller numbers across the U.S., and those that are being started are starting smaller and staying smaller than in previous generations. The Kauffman Foundation calls this “America’s slow leak in job creation.” The SMART Center is intended to not only provide students with the tools to build businesses upon graduation, but also to provide students with a laboratory to explore the start-up process while at MSU, and hopefully graduate with a business in hand as well as a diploma. A recent article published in Forbes (Hitchcock, 2012) identifies a student’s time in college as the optimal point to start a business. What is needed, however, are the resources and assistance necessary to launch and implement a business idea – this is exactly what the SMART Center is designed to do.

Each of the activities will be described in detail below:

Start-Up Laboratory: The laboratory is intended to provide support and assistance to student entrepreneurial efforts. Any student-run business from across campus will be eligible for laboratory assistance and support. Students, faculty, the SMART Center program manager, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and members of the Bozeman entrepreneurial and business community will participate in the laboratory processes.

Professional Services: Several students (~5-6) will provide support services to student-run businesses on campus and those operating within the Start-Up Laboratory, as well as serving the Bozeman business community in such capacity. The Professional Services students will also lead the SMART Center’s community engagement efforts, working with area high schools, as well as middle and elementary schools, to develop workshops and visits to the schools. The students will be selected based on an individual application process, and they will be mentored by faculty, the SMART Center program manager, and the Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

Permanent Entrepreneur-in-Residence: Currently the College of Business houses an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for a 3-day period each semester. With the SMART Center proposal, the CoB is proposing to extend the Entrepreneur-in-Residence to a full semester visit. The Entrepreneur-in-Residence will receive a stipend for the their services ($10,000) and will fill a variety of roles within the SMART Center: mentoring the student consultants, advising the student incubator, deliver community speaking engagements, participate in the classroom, assist with advising SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), and help lead the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy (see below).

Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy: The academy will serve as a forum for interested faculty and students from across the university, and members of the community to meet, present ideas, and share experience regarding starting businesses and the commercialization of business or product ideas. Experts in the various processes of starting a business (e.g., incorporation, filing patents, contracts, venture capital/funding) will participate to provide the tools and skills necessary for students, faculty, and members of the community to begin the process of starting their own business. The academy will hold weekly meetings to build an on-campus entrepreneurial community, and will also develop monthly program meetings covering a specific topic as determined by the SMART Center Program Manager, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and the faculty involved with the SMART Center.

SMART Center Program Manager: A professional employee will be hired to serve as the SMART Center Program Manager. This individual will be the central administrator of the center and its various activities, and will work closely with faculty, staff, students, and the Entrepreneur-in-Residence. The program manager will also manage any events led by the SMART Center, including the weekly and monthly Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy activities. In addition, the program manager will manage the community engagement components of the SMART Center, including the interactions with area schools, guest speakers, and community service projects.

There is also another related proposal submitted by the College of Business called Bobcat Enterprises. There is also a relationship with a third College of Business proposal focused on Peer Advising and Mentoring, which is supportive of the MSU Foundation's initiative to implement a student-alumni mentor network. The graphic at the following link depicts a high level view of the related proposals and entities:


Reedy, E.J. & Robert E. Litan (2011), “Starting Smaller; Staying Smaller: America’s Slow Leak in Job Creation,” Kauffman Foundation Research Series,

Hitchcock, Jeremy (2012), “4 Reasons Why College is the New Business Incubator,” Forbes, November 21, 2012,


Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

The SMART Center is designed to act as a central point of contact between the College of Business, the greater MSU campus, and the Bozeman and Montana community. While this center is not expected to have an impact on every student at MSU, those who choose to be involved with the SMART Center activities will engage in fully immersive programs that incorporate participation of experts, community leaders, business leaders, faculty, and fellow students from across campus who share an entrepreneurial mindset. The initiators of this proposal within the College of Business have already approached the founders of StartUp Bozeman (Gary Gannon, Rob Irizarry, & Jake Cook), an entrepreneurial advocacy group in the Gallatin Valley, and these individuals are highly interested in the SMART Center and in participating in its various activities. We expect these activities to draw faculty and students from across the university as participants, and look forward to engaging this diverse audience within the SMART Center.

Implementation Plan

Upon receiving funding, development efforts for the SMART Center will proceed as follows:

  • Spring 2013 – Invitation to interested faculty to participate as SMART Center faculty fellows
  • Summer 2013 – SMART Center faculty fellows and CoB administrators will develop job description for SMART Center program manager and post job listing
  • Summer 2013 – Recommendations for candidates for Entrepreneur-in-Residence will be solicited from faculty, staff, and community; viable candidates will be contacted and assessed for fit with CoB and SMART Center
  • Late Summer 2013 – SMART Center program manager will be hired and the processes will be finalized to develop the Start-Up Laboratory, Professional Services, and the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy
  • Fall 2013 – SMART Center will begin operation at the start of the 2013-14 academic year; student applications for Professional Services will be solicited; business proposals and/or clients will be solicited for participation in the Start-Up Laboratory, and the initial Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy event will be advertised and hosted
Assessment Plan

The performance of the SMART Center will be assessed using various measures. The number of students participating in service projects and as professional service providers will be a clear indicator of the impact of the SMART Center. In addition, the number students participating in the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy as well as the community engagement events will be measured. Other success measures will include the number of businesses supported by the Start-Up Laboratory, the number of businesses assisted by professional services, the number of businesses started by graduates who participated in SMART Center activities, and the number of community members participating in the events, academy, and classroom.

If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

There are no long term fixed costs associated with the proposal. After the initial three years, if the SMART Center has not been successful in meeting the proposed objectives, the program can be terminated with minimal disruption and no additional expenditure. The program manager hired to facilitate the operation of the SMART Center can then be reassigned with the College of Business or have their position eliminated.

Dean/Director: Kregg Aytes (
Executive/VP: Martha Potvin (