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Connie Bourassa-Shaw, ‘heart and soul’ of UW entrepreneurship program, to step down as director
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Connie Bourassa-Shaw, ‘heart and soul’ of UW entrepreneurship program, to step down as director

Connie Bourassa-Shaw, who spent practically 20 years serving to the College of Washington develop its scholar entrepreneurial packages, is stepping down as director of the Buerk Heart for Entrepreneurship this June.

Beginning this summer season, the revered chief will spend one 12 months in a part-time function on the UW main a brand new Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship degree she helped create, earlier than formally retiring.

Bourassa-Shaw, who simply turned 65, informed GeekWire that she’ll miss coaching and educating the subsequent technology of entrepreneurs on the UW, the place she introduced an entrepreneurial mindset to campus and helped launch profitable packages just like the UW Enterprise Plan Competitors and the Alaska Airways Environmental Innovation Problem whereas creating entrepreneurship-related curriculum and constructing connections with the bigger Seattle startup group.

“Working with scholar entrepreneurs might be essentially the most enjoyable you may have,” she mentioned.

However now Bourassa-Shaw is prepared to cross the management torch. She’s eager on discovering a alternative who “loves college students as a lot as I do;” can function inside a college atmosphere; and can proceed making entrepreneurship training accessible to all college students throughout campus, not simply these across the enterprise college.

She known as it the “greatest job at UW” as a result of “you get to work with college students who discover you.”

“The scholars who’re captivated with entrepreneurship whereas in faculty are the serial entrepreneurs who will begin firm after firm,” she defined. “These are the individuals who discover us and who we get to work with. It’s completely cool.”

Jim Jiambalvo, dean of the UW’s Foster Faculty of Enterprise, informed GeekWire that Bourassa-Shaw has been the “coronary heart and soul of the entrepreneurship program at Foster.”

“Her outreach throughout campus to engineering, regulation, international well being and different areas has created alternatives for great interactions with enterprise college students,” Jiambalvo mentioned. “We’ll miss her as the Heart director, however I’m very grateful that she’s staying with us for the launch of our new masters diploma in entrepreneurship program.”

Bourassa-Shaw mentioned the brand new graduate diploma for budding entrepreneurs is “one thing that’s been within the again of my mind for 10 years.” It’s a 12-month program centered on instructing the elemental qualities of what makes a profitable entrepreneur whereas offering entry to the Seattle tech group. Bourassa-Shaw described it as a hybrid of a level program and an accelerator — a extra inexpensive possibility than incomes an MBA that makes use of a curriculum that mimics the startup course of.

“It fills a niche within the ecosystem,” she famous.

To those that say entrepreneurship can’t be taught at school and solely discovered by means of expertise, Bourassa-Shaw mentioned that “something that may be discovered, might be taught.”

“You might be an entrepreneur with out studying the fundamentals of accounting or how finance works or advertising, however it’s going to take you longer, you’ll spend more cash, and your probability of failure shall be greater,” she mentioned. “That’s why I feel it’s so vital we make entrepreneurship training accessible for any scholar in any self-discipline.”

Bourassa-Shaw mentioned she’s pleased with how entrepreneurship training has unfold throughout the UW campus and hopes her successor can proceed constructing connections with college students and college from different disciplines.

“There are nice avenues for Buerk Heart to proceed to develop and embrace elements of campus we haven’t reached out to,” she famous.

Leaders all through the Seattle startup group lauded what Bourassa-Shaw has performed for each the UW, now ranked as the world’s No. 5 most-innovative university, and the area itself.

“Connie is a terrific advocate for encouraging, educating and inspiring entrepreneurs,” mentioned Matt McIlwain, managing director at Madrona Enterprise Group. “She has been on the middle of so many components of the Seattle-area innovation ecosystem and specifically the excellent efforts made by the College of Washington to advance entrepreneurship and financial alternative.”

Chris Devore, managing associate at Founder’s Co-op mentioned the UW and Foster Faculty wouldn’t have the status it has with out Bourassa-Shaw’s contributions. Linden Rhodes, the previous vice provost of innovation on the UW, known as her “indefatigable.”

“Connie’s ardour for entrepreneurship, and her conviction that it may be taught was infectious,” Rhodes informed GeekWire.

Added Dave Parker, CEO at Code Fellows: “Connie was engaged on entrepreneurship earlier than it was cool in Seattle. The startup scene in Seattle wouldn’t be what it’s at this time with out Connie’s perception that entrepreneurship is one thing that may be taught.”

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