Jackson State University business professor receives $30K VentureWell faculty grant

(JACKSON, Miss.) — Dr. Sharon Simmons, associate professor of entrepreneurship, recently received the VentureWell Faculty Grant, providing $30,000 to the program over the next two years.

Dr. Sharon Simmons

“I felt like, wow, because this was my first attempt, and it was a success,” Simmons said. “I always envisioned being the principal investigator of impactful grants.”

The program is designed to help fund and support faculty with innovative ideas to create new or transform existing courses and programs assisting students with developing novel, STEM-based inventions and ultimately gaining the necessary entrepreneurial skills needed to bring these ideas to market.

“As an entrepreneurship faculty member, it is a privilege to serve at the only Historical Black College and University (HBCU) that offers a major in this area of study,” Simmons said.

The funds received from the VentureWell grant will be used for a proposed minor in entrepreneurship at JSU. The minor will provide a general overview entrepreneurship to students in majors outside of the College of Business. The courses in the entrepreneurship minor will go beyond theory to experientially engage student teams formed in the classroom in pursuit of scalable solutions to real-world problems. The overall objective for the entrepreneurship minor will mirror and extend the mission of the Jackson State University BBA in entrepreneurship.

VentureWell’s funding will support activities including:

  • Increased engagement among students and faculty across campus
  • Improved pedagogy tools provided by the entrepreneurship minor
  • Promoting venture creation using technology based and urban social enterprise models

The funding will also be used to strengthen the venture creation courses in the entrepreneurship curriculum with experiential opportunities to scale innovations into commercial enterprises.

Successful grant proposals include:

  • A focus on technology entrepreneurship
  • Experiential learning by doing, and creative approaches to solving real-world problems
  • The formation of student teams focused on technology inventions with positive social and/or environmental impact
  • A supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem for student teams to pursue commercialization
  • A plan for sustained institutional change and the continuation of the course or program after VentureWell funding
  • Inclusion of faculty and mentors with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise to support students especially students from underrepresented groups

For more information regarding the VentureWell Grant, click here.