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Jackson Named New Director of Prince Entrepreneurship Program

Bill Jackson, Stetson University

William A. Jackson, Ph.D.

It’s not surprising that the very qualities often said to fuel the success of a new enterprise — initiative, passion and innovation — are also the qualities embodied by William A. Jackson, Ph.D., the new director of the Joseph C. Prince Entrepreneurship Program.

“I was drawn to Stetson because there is a large demographic of students involved in family business and the faculty here embrace the spirit of true entrepreneurship, working to foster it through a hands-on curriculum,” explained Jackson. “I want to create an entrepreneurial mindset with a real focus on the student, teaching them how to solve real-world problems and ultimately, inspire them to make the world a better place.”

As a nationally recognized leader in entrepreneurship education, Jackson’s resourcefulness served him well in his former role at the University of South Florida where he was responsible for building the entrepreneurial program from the ground up. In fact, under his leadership, the program was recognized nationally in 2013 as the emerging entrepreneurship program, and in 2015 he was named the Entrepreneur Educator of the Year by the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

His passion for entrepreneurship is palpable and all encompassing, taking him around the world. In 2012, Jackson traveled to Iraq where he served the USAID for 45 days. While there he was tasked with helping train business faculty members in Baghdad and Kurdistan on how to implement entrepreneurship in their college programs.

And, while most people spend their free time relaxing, Jackson — clearly an entrepreneur at heart — chooses to spend his time serving as the managing editor of the Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, co-founder of the Roundtable of Entrepreneurial Educators in Florida, and as the executive director for the Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship

While students will be exposed to business concepts related to running a business, according to Jackson the learning experience will be enhanced by teaching students how to solve problems and move businesses into the 21st century. Jackson plans to infuse the curriculum with inventive methods designed to stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit.

“His tremendous knowledge and energy will not only benefit Stetson students who dream of starting their own entrepreneurial enterprise, but he also brings a focus on organizational innovation that is critical to the success of our students and the organizations they will join,” said Neal Mero, dean of the School of Business Administration. “In this role, Bill will also be a valued resource for Stetson students from all areas of study interested in pursuing business opportunities in their fields.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the growth of the U.S. economy. In fact, based on data from that agency, small businesses account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales, 55 percent of all jobs, and 66 percent of all new net jobs.

It’s said that an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages an enterprise with considerable initiative and risk. In his new role at Stetson, Jackson will certainly be embracing this definition as he strives to integrate, brand and expand the program to equip the next generation of entrepreneurs to successfully navigate the risky waters of launching a business.

As a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, Jackson gained extensive leadership experience that he is able to share with students. He earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Strategic Management from Memphis State University and completed undergraduate studies at the University of Alabama.

By Marie Dinklage