College of Business Illinois State University
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State Farm Hall of Business

George R. and Martha Means Center
for Entrepreneurial Studies Strategic Plan
(June 2017)


 To provide business and non-business majors with learning experiences outside the classroom that foster their entrepreneurial spirit, encourage them to start new businesses, and support them through mentoring, networking, and funding.


The Means Center supports Illinois State University students interested in starting and growing a business. We foster their entrepreneurial skills with outside-the-classroom experiences and make available:

  • entrepreneurial-minded faculty across campus
  • business mentors
  • financial support

Our goal is to make business ownership a viable option for all our graduates


For students, the Means Center provides:

  • Mentorship of faculty and business leaders;
  • Financial assistance;
  • Access to resources and people with unique talents and knowledge;
  • A bridge to the future. 

For alumni, the Means Center provides:

  • Opportunities for giving back;
  • Opportunities for mentorship;
  • Opportunities for learning from and being inspired by students;
  • Opportunities that allow Illinois State University to express its institutional interest in involved alumni’s accomplishments.

For the local community, the Means Center can provide:

  • Motivation for students to establish and grow businesses locally;
  • Connection to the University;
  • Local economic growth;
  • Access to a large talent pool.


STRATEGIC GOAL 1 | The Means Center will attain higher visibility through state, local, and national exposure.          

Action Items -

  • 2017-18
    • Introduce available activities to freshmen in BUS 100;
    • Participate in Festival ISU to promote student awareness and collect email addresses;
    • Increase Means Center faculty presence at USASBE, United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship;
    • Enhance Means Center social media presence.
  • 2018-2019
    • Apply for USASBE Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education award;
    • Increase presence at GCEC, the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers;
    • Investigate data-gathering through ISTC, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition on entrepreneurship activity throughout the state of Illinois;
    • Continue faculty involvement in USASBE.
  • 2019-2020
    • Apply for GCEC award;
    • Continue faculty involvement in USASBE and GCEC.

Accountability Measures -

  • Account for annual faculty cultivation of freshmen in BUS 100 by documenting number of sections attended;
  • Document social media hits and number of followers;
  • Document annual faculty participation in USASBE;
  • Document annual faculty participation in GCEC;
  • Receive recognition from USASBE, GCEC, and/or ISTC by 2022.

 STRATEGIC GOAL 2 | The Means Center will cultivate student access to the Illinois State University Alumni network and community connections.

Action Items -

  • Initiate a database of alumni mentors, Means Center Mentors:
    • Collect names of potential mentors at Entrepreneurship of the Year gala;
    • Collect names of potential mentors via social media;
    • Collect names of potential mentors via outreach;
    • Keep students informed about the Redbird Alumni Mentorship Network:
      • Via faculty communication with students;
      • Via web presence in COB;
      • Via social media.
    • The Means Center will coordinate with Marketing to involve a student team in improving marketing for the Entrepreneur of the Year award;
    • The Means Center will supervise a student intern from Marketing to work on marketing the EoY and using social media.

Accountability Measures -

  • Redbird Alumni Mentorship Network will be established by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year;
  • Data will be kept annually on students interacting with mentors and the growth trajectory will be tracked;
  • Students from Marketing will be involved in Means Center marketing by the end of the academic year 2018-2019.

 STRATEGIC GOAL 3 | The Means Center will secure regular outside funding for small grants for student businesses.

Action Items -

  • The Means Center will work with the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects to develop a strategy and methodology for seeking grant funding;
  • The Means Center will work with Advancement to develop a strategy and methodology for seeking gift-giving.

Accountability Measures - 

  • The Means Center will document dates of meeting with ORSP and Advancement;
  • The Means Center will circulate strategy and methodology to the Advisory Council;
  • Seed money and “proof of concept” funds will reach $20,000 annually, at a minimum.

STRATEGIC GOAL 4 | The Means Center will promote student involvement that broadly reflects campus and COB demographics.

Action Items -

  • The Means Center will conduct surveys with Entrepreneurship students about gendered perceptions towards students among our students;
  • Means Center leadership will explore issues of women in STEM fields and similarities between the fields;
  • Means Center leadership will investigate the following resources:
    • American Association of University Women (AAUW);
    • STEM Women;
    • Women for Women International;
    • Female Entrepreneur Association International.

Accountability Measures -

  • By the end of the year, 2018, the Means Center will have drafted a gender inclusion plan;
  • By 2020, student involvement in the Accelerator and Startup Showcase will reflect the same gender demographics as the College of Business.

STRATEGIC GOAL 5 |The Means Center will help students and graduates gain connections to potential investors.

Action Items -

  • The Means Center will initiate a Redbird Angel Network:
    • The RAN will provide student access to investors and investors access to the ideas promoted by student entrepreneurs;

Accountability Measures -

  • By 2020, the Redbird Angel Network will be established and in place;
  • Annually, the Means Center will track student involvement in the Redbird Angel Network and track growing involvement in the program.
2020-02-06T09:26:04.225-06:00 2020