Great questions possess transformative power. “What’s your goal – to produce employees or employers?” That query directed at a group of university educators literally silenced the room.
At the beginning of our journey some 8 years ago, we set out on a quest to design a culture that would focus on building creators of opportunity. In that process we have come to realize the critical work of nurturing the mindset and capability of those unique people who have the fire in their belly; the willingness to take on risk, hard work, and grit to build something worthy. The Engler community, comprised of remarkable alumni, students and supporters, is characterized by putting our core pillars into action – aspire, courage, passion, grit, partner and build are not just words on the wall for us. Rather these pillars are the glue that binds us together in our mission to embolden people to courageously pursue their purpose through entrepreneurship.
Our community is comprised of independent, ambitious, curious, and confident people; they exemplify Engler values and pursue their purposes with sincerity. There is a hopeful dissatisfaction with the status quo in our culture and we are willing to create something incredible through sweat and elbow grease – the pioneer spirit is alive and well!
As we look to the future, there are two exciting developments we want to share. First of all, our first alumni cohort kicks off in 2019. The cohort program is designed to encourage and support the next stages of entrepreneurial development as people mature and focus their energies towards launching an enterprise, moving a concept off the drawing table and into the market, or growing a side-gig into a greater opportunity.
Secondly, we are looking forward to watching C.Y. Thompson library be transformed over the next two years into a new learning commons for East Campus with the second floor dedicated to becoming the new home of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program. We have been intentional and resolute in making sure that the design process yields a functional space that represents our culture, is built to support our mission, and invites the entrepreneurial spirit into the very heart of our campus.
These are indeed very exciting times and we are deeply thankful for the people of the Engler community, the support we have received in pioneering an innovative approach to entrepreneurial education and development, and the privilege of serving the next generation of employers and opportunity makers.
The adventure is just beginning and we look to the future with hope and the belief that the Engler entrepreneurs will carry the torch of free enterprise and engaged citizenship.