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For Work in Entrepreneur Education, NKU Professor Wins Award

A professor at Northern Kentucky University is one of seven educators from across the country to be presented with the 40th annual Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education, presented by Freedoms Valley Foundation at Valley Forge.

The award presented at a reception as part of the 97th annual National Council for the Social Studies Conference in San Francisco last month.

Dr. Rodney D’Souza, NKU's Fifth Third Bank Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship, was among the honorees.

The Leavey Awards were established by the co-founder of the Farmers Insurance Group, the late Thomas Leavey, and his philanthropic wife, Dorothy, in partnership with Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.  The award is among the nation’s top honors bestowed upon outstanding teachers, at every educational level, who create and conduct programs in entrepreneurship.

D’Souza was honored for his work with the INKUBATOR at NKU.  

The INKUBATOR is an internationally ranked 12-week business accelerator program designed to increase the competitive advantage and spark private enterprise creation for all NKU students.

Created in 2012, the INKUBATOR provides students with education, mentoring, seed funding, facilities and other related resources necessary for a successful entrepreneurial startup. The INKUBATOR focuses on being the catalyst for students who have business ideas and are looking to have an impact in their communities. The program facilitates economic development in the community through launching new ventures, creating part-time and full-time jobs, and raising funds to launch and grow businesses.

The program is unique because it is based around creating cross-campus engagement through the development of multidisciplinary teams, while facilitating entrepreneurial learning and building connections by fostering mentoring from members of the business community as well as alums of the program. To date, INKUBATOR graduates have raised $7 million in outside investments and created 62 jobs.

“More than ever, our Nation and its economy need entrepreneurs, small business owners and business visionaries.  These leaders are coming from the classrooms of Leavey Award Recipients like Rodney D’Souza,” said Jason Raia, executive vice president, Freedoms Foundation. “People are now realizing what Thomas and Dorothy Leavey knew 40 years ago - teaching future generations to develop an appreciation, knowledge and enthusiasm for the American Free Enterprise System is essential to ensuring our nation’s continued success."

-Staff report

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