Local business seen as key to success for FSU's new entrepreneur school

Published: Aug. 20, 2016 at 10:09 AM EDT
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By: Mariel Carbone

August 20, 2016

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (WCTV)-- A new addition to Florida State University is expected to boost business in Tallahassee.

On Saturday, Susan Fiorito, Director of the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship, spoke at Tallahassee's annual Chamber of Commerce Conference on Amelia Island. The breakout session, Building a World Class Entrepreneurship School, detailed the addition of the new school, as well as the possibilities of new relationships between the school and the community,

The school is named after entrepreneur Jim Moran. A 100 million dollar gift was given to FSU to fund the school by Jan Moran and the Jim Moran Foundation. The foundation will continue to also fund the Jim Moran Institute, an outreach program, which is housed at FSU. The institute has opearted for more than 20 years and helps businesses grow, figure out who they are, what they want to do and more.

Fiorito said interaction and collaboration between the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship and the local business community is key to its success.

"We're going to depend, maybe more than the other colleges, on our community," she said. "To work with us, to provide resources as we're growing. And, to be innovative and to feel that they can work with us and talk with us."

The school will be located at 111 South Monroe Street in Downtown, Tallahassee. Unlike the University's current entrepreneurship program,

the new school with have interdisciplinary studies, with teachers from all over the university teaching there. It is expected to open in fall, 2017.

Traditionally, the program is very selective and only accepts 40 students a year. This year, it took 60 students. And, when the new school opens, 80 will be admitted. Within the next five years, FSU hopes to have about 500 students attending.

Fiorito said she hopes local businesses can partner with the school and provide things like internships, externships and serve as mentors.

"We're going to depend a great deal on the community, particularly being downtown. It's going to be a wonderful opportunity for our students to interact more with the community," she said.

She also hopes to have community leaders come in and speak to classes, talk about their businesses and share their passions.

One way to do this it through what she calls, "mentor nights."

Speakign at the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Conference, was as a way to introduce these ideas.

"Many of our students will start their own businesses. And we hope they stay in Florida, and stay in Tallahassee," said Fiorito. But, we need the community to help support them as well. Because when they're starting, they're going to need funding, they're going to need support. They're going to need networking. So they're going to be depending on the community quite a bit to help us provide the environment they need to be successful."

But, it's not just local businesses offering help to students. The students will play an active role in benefiting the community as well.

"Students today were brought up with technology," said Fiorito. "It may not be the same situation as the owner of a company. Businesses expect students to bring to them innovation, and technology and new ideas, fresh ideas. So I'm hoping the students can bring to the businesses, things they need."