North Dakota’s University of Jamestown joins movement to bolster Midwest innovation

By August 11, 2017

The Midwest is making a big push towards innovating the startup community. A private liberal arts college is now taking steps to encourage entrepreneurship.

The University of Jamestown, originally founded by the Presbyterian Church in Jamestown, North Dakota in 1883, is now home to about 1,000 enrolled students.

The facility, known for its choir and nursing school, took a different approach to education when it announced its plans to establish a regional entrepreneurship center in the Jamestown Sun.

“The Entrepreneur Center will be a one-stop shop where staff help someone analyze and develop a business idea with partnering agencies and specialists,” said Tena Lawrence, UJ vice president of marketing and communications.

The entrepreneurship center is set to open in September inside the the Unruh and Sheldon Center, home to the college’s Business, Accounting and Economics, and Computer Science and Information Technology departments. The building houses some of the Midwest’s best technology, which cost $5 million dollars to construct in 2006.

“This center is on the campus but it is not our center,” Lawrence said. “It is a community and regional center for the nine counties that are served by the South Central Dakota Regional Council.”

The center once sparked as an idea during lunch between UJ President Robert Badal and executives from Great River Energy will seek grants to sustain a $125,000 annual budget, following initiatives by other universities in the Midwest.

“There is tremendous support from businesses and agencies not only locally, but statewide,” Badal said.

The university so far has succeeded to get support from Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp in the form of $45,000 for the the entrepreneurship center.

“The Entrepreneur Center is an exciting new piece to foster business in the community and bolster the local economy,” said Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen, adding, “this is really a great way to funnel resources.”