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Oklahoma State University

Watters to head new Riata Institute

Monday, November 5, 2018

Dr. Craig Watters, left, will serve as the director for The Riata Institute for Global Social Entrepreneurship.

Oklahoma State University’s School of Entrepreneurship is expanding – globally.

The Spears School of Business has approved The Riata Institute for Global Social Entrepreneurship, which will focus on furthering student experiential study, research and service, while simultaneously offering rich experiences both nationally and abroad.

Dr. Craig Watters, clinical associate professor and International Entrepreneurship chair, will serve as the new institute’s director. He will work with faculty from entrepreneurship and Spears, as well as across campus.

“The importance of social entrepreneurship is growing globally,” Watters said. “Our students want more and more to make an impact on the world and the world is for them – Central America, China, Pakistan, South America, Mexico, Africa - everywhere I have been so far.”

Social entrepreneurship is a growing and vibrant field, using start-up companies, interns and other entrepreneurs to develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural or environmental issues.

Tom’s Shoes, a for-profit business that donates a pair of shoes to children in need for every pair sold, is one example of a successful social entrepreneurship company.

The purpose of the Riata Institute for Global Social Entrepreneurship will be to act as a catalyst and hub for social entrepreneurship training, development and action on the OSU campus. The institute will focus on these signature activities:

  1. Social entrepreneurship internship program, from local and regional to international
  2. Social entrepreneurship business incubation.
  3. Social entrepreneurship expo.
  4. Social entrepreneurship competitions.
  5. Social entrepreneurship innovation lab.
  6. Mandela Fellows.
  7. Enactus Club; a network of global business, academic and student leaders.
  8. Research abroad.

The institute’s goal is to advance simple awareness and solutions of social problems, bridging the gap to addressing additional issues raised by geography, politics, culture, social variables and sustainability, encouraging students to make an impact through interaction and experiential opportunities through international correspondence and educational visits.

Even more, the Institute is joining GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor), the world's foremost study of global entrepreneurship. The Instute will work with Dr. Goutam Chakraborty, the Ralph A. and Peggy A. Brenneman Professor in Marketing, and his students, as well as other students and faculty to execute data collection and analysis to provide high quality information, comprehensive reports and interesting stories from around the world.

For more information, contact Watters at 405-744-7546.

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