Feature Stories

Enabling Entrepreneurs

Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship receives a top national award

“The Berthiaume Center is much more than a classroom. It’s a vital place where students and faculty come together to share ideas, solve problems, seize opportunities, and build successful businesses.”
— Bill Wooldridge, managing director of the Berthiaume Center

The Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, headquartered in the Isenberg School of Management, is a cross-campus network of scholars, innovators, and entrepreneurs. It supports research, education, and practice geared at transforming ideas into business realities—and it’s clearly making a mark.

In mid-January the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship—the world’s largest independent professional academic organization dedicated to advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship—presented the Berthiaume Center with its 2016 Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program Award. The award recognizes high-quality, innovative, and sustainable academic programs that demonstrate viability, depth of support, and scope.

The Berthiaume Center—established with a $10-million gift from alumnus Douglas Berthiaume ’71 and his wife, Diana—has an administrative team of three faculty members and a significant number of affiliated faculty members from multiple disciplines. It has so far served more than 1,300 students and faculty through mentoring services, full access to the resources of the commonwealth’s largest public university, a speaker series, and wide-ranging events including the campus-wide Innovation Challenge, Idea Jam sessions, Social Entrepreneurship Day, and the Hult Prize @UMass.

The center also supports student ventures including the HackUMass hackathon, the BuzzBuilders marketing internships, and the Berthiaume Student Innovators and Entrepreneurship Club. The Coleman Fellows Program, launched last fall, reflects the Berthiaume Center’s commitment to serving the entire university across disciplines by supporting professors in non-business departments who seek to integrate entrepreneurial thinking into their courses.

According to Bill Wooldridge, professor of management and managing director of the Berthiaume Center, the recent award also recognizes substantial progress and great potential. “It confirms the center’s place as a world-class academic center and a vital incubator for the next generation of entrepreneurs,” he says. “We focus on best practices, creative thinking, and helping students develop the skills needed to unravel the real-world challenges facing today’s businesses, from start-ups to industry icons. The Berthiaume Center is much more than a classroom. It’s a vital place where students and faculty come together to share ideas, solve problems, seize opportunities, and build successful businesses.”

University Relations