Business & Economy

UWF Center for Entrepreneurship expands outreach under new leadership

The University of West Florida College of Business recently named Dr. Ed Ranelli director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, where he will continue outreach initiatives.

Ranelli served as dean of the College of Business from 2000 to 2013, and was named dean emeritus of the college in 2014. He assumes responsibility for leading the Center for Entrepreneurship, which was founded in July 2015 through a $1 million gift commitment from Quint and Rishy Studer. The purpose of the Center is to encourage and support educational initiatives related to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial-thinking while serving as a comprehensive resource for economic innovation for students, industry and community partners.

“One of my joys as a professor at UWF has been to help launch students into successful careers and lives,” Ranelli said. “Through the Center for Entrepreneurship, we strive to expose students from many disciplines to entrepreneurial thinking, and help all students to develop skills and attributes such as perseverance, integrity and relentlessness that will help them achieve entrepreneurial success.”

Another major goal is to seed and feed innovation and entrepreneurial thinking through engagement and interactions with established entrepreneurs and executives in business, technology, engineering, mathematics and the arts. The Center will provide opportunities for students to engage with guest speakers in the Idea Space in the UWF library and in their UWF classes; participate in mentorships and internship with community partners; work on real-world problems and case studies; and job shadow experienced CEOs and community leaders.

Pensacola business and community leader Quint Studer serves as entrepreneur-in-residence, and other business and community leaders and UWF faculty will be invited to take part in fellowships with the Center for Entrepreneurship.

“I have known Dr. Ranelli since 1996 when we were both at Baptist Health Care,” Studer said. “It will be great working with him to introduce UWF students to the wonderful learning experiences available at the many excellent companies in the area.”

“As entrepreneur-in-residence, Quint is team-teaching a class on entrepreneurship and sharing his experiences as an entrepreneur and a transformational community leader,” Ranelli said. “Other successful entrepreneurs serve as guest speakers to share their stories with students about how to succeed in their careers, businesses and lives.”

As the Center aims to expand interest in entrepreneurship, toolkits will be offered to faculty, particularly in STEAM disciplines, to aid them in exposing non-business students to entrepreneurial programs such as Business Model Canvas and The Lean Startup.

The Center will host a series of lectures and events this fall to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among UWF students and community members. The first will be “Innovate Like da Vinci,” held on Sept. 6 at 4:30 p.m. in the John C. Pace Library Idea Space. Studer will also present on how to be successful in career and life on Sept. 20.

On Oct. 5, 2017, the Center will host the Da Vinci Innovation Celebration, where UWF students are invited to participate in presenting innovative concepts from any discipline they choose, with local entrepreneurs serving as judges. More than 20 cash prizes, totaling $5,000, will be given away to student presenters. The lectures at the UWF library’s Idea Space will serve as preparation sessions leading up to the event.

In addition to supporting UWF students with experiential learning, the Center continues to work with the Small Business Development Center and the Studer Community Institute in offering counsel to local businesses.

For more information about the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship, visit