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Dean Tanner and business students conversing outside of Constant Hall.

Letter from the Dean


As we cross the mid-point of the spring term, thoughts turn to graduation, summer internships, and the beach! This year, more than most, spring is bringing a greater sense of new hope and freedom.

On campus, we see this on Kaufman Mall, with more students out enjoying the sunshine than ever before. But we're also seeing this in a renewed intensity in studies and career preparation. The resiliency of our students, our staff, and our faculty has been amazing and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to serve them.

One incredible and unique resource of the Strome College of Business is the Hudgins Transitional Entrepreneurship, or TE, Lab. TE involves building the capacity of individuals and communities for innovation and entrepreneurship so that they can transition to wellbeing. Our students and faculty work in the community to solve challenges through entrepreneurship, such as in the Community Challenge Competition. This program puts high school students from disadvantaged communities on teams with our students, and community leaders pitch problems to them. They then come up with solutions and present those back. From opioid use to food deserts, these challenges are addressed with actionable solutions.

Our students also work with economic development agencies as TE-sponsored interns. By doing so, they are directly engaged in planning and execution of strategies to create opportunities for all, whether as part of the workforce or as new business owners.

As part of a class project during the spring 2021 term, three students — Becca Mayo, Alexis Reeder, and Nick Rice — interviewed executives at local businesses and nonprofits that had successfully recovered from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They were guided in their efforts by Dean Jeff Tanner, Professors Anil Nair and Kris Irwin, and graduate students Chris Willis and Sam Wilson. A report summarizing their findings will be published shortly.

Their findings offers some takeaways that can help businesses build their resilience and adaptive capacities to successfully recover from future crises. It is part of a larger effort within the university to build broad expertise in resilience to economic and environmental shocks.

The entrepreneurs featured in this report had foresight, were tenacious, and did not consider failure an option. In addition to displaying grit and a sense of resilience, they relied on four strategies:

  • Creating a sense of urgency by cutting costs and securing cash.
  • Reasserting core firm values and principles governing decisions, particularly when it came to human capital.
  • Generating new ideas for growth.
  • Continually communicating with stakeholders.

Coming this June, the Hudgins TE Lab will host the second global conference in transitional entrepreneurship. Not only are our faculty and students active in the community, they're also committed to generating thought leadership through basic and applied research, research that will then become the foundation for future programming.

But students don't have to be entrepreneurship majors to participate. Becca, Alexis, and Nick majored in other fields, for example. (And you may recognize Nick as the captain of the Monarch football team and record-setting placekicker last fall.)

Through the Open4Business program, small and medium-sized businesses can access the brain power of our outstanding students by offering up projects for classes. Ranging from social media campaigns to supply chain audits, these projects always result in innovative ideas and strategies that help our economy grow.

The seeds of the Hudgins Transitional Entrepreneurship Lab have quickly grown into a thriving and life-changing community of students and faculty. Yet with all this success so far, we've only just begun.

Email me, please, with your thoughts on where we're headed, opportunities to serve, or how we can support you. Happy spring!





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Professor Anil Nair Introduces Transitional Entrepreneurship to Global Audience


Entrepreneurship is rarely, if ever, described as a journey of privilege. It takes hard work, long hours, and income is not guaranteed just to name a few. However, when we look at the resources provided for entrepreneurs to alleviate and scale their businesses, such as business loans, grants, and even business contacts, research has shown us the undeniable disparities amongst those receiving those resources and those who are not. Therein lies the privilege.





Elevating Women in Business

Women's Initiative Network (WIN) President, Marsha Hudgins speaks about WIN's mission to elevate women in the workplace and how it aligns with her overall mission to see all marginalized groups elevated and engaging in conversations that will empower their communities.




ODU Professor Among Poets & Quant’s 50 Best Undergrad Professors

Andrew Bennett, an assistant professor in Old Dominion University's Strome College of Business, has been named one of the 50 best undergraduate professors in the United States by Poets & Quants, a website dedicated to covering business schools.

Bennett was selected from more than 1,000 nominations from students and faculty across the country. As a professor in the Department of Management, Bennett focuses on employee well-being, negotiations and improving management research and education. He has worked as a researcher and consultant on projects for multiple Forbes Global 2000 companies, the U.S. Army and national nonprofits.



Bessie B. Moore Service Award

On March 4, 2022, the National Association of Economic Educators awarded Ruth Cookson of Old Dominion University the 2021 Bessie B. Moore Service Award at their annual conference.

The award is designed to recognize individuals associated with NAEE/Council for Economic Education whose outstanding and dedicated service has had a significant impact on the delivery and enhancement of economic education.




bring-grant-winners

BRING Grants Fund Faculty Research on Negotiation Tactics


Strome faculty will embark on research into negotiations related to COVID-19 vaccination and sales tactics with the support of new grants from the Thurmond Negotiations Lab in the Strome College of Business.

hudgins-lab-profs

Transitional Entrepreneurship Transforms Communities


Jay O'Toole (left), Deputy Director for the Hudgins Lab and Robert Pidduck (right), Director, said transitional entrepreneurship looks different because of the unique challenges underserved communities often face, such as access to financial capital, quality networking and mentoring opportunities and commitment from support organizations and key stakeholders.

Student Success Stories: Taylor
Student Success Stories Sophia Oneal

Engaging Entrepreneurs to Accelerate Success


Strome Entrepreneurial Center (SEC) is dedicated to being a resource in student entrepreneurship. Sophia and Taylor are shining examples of the success that students can achieve with the right guidance.