LSU Expands Entrepreneurship Programs

November 9, 2017

BATON ROUGE – The LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business announced a major grant that will expand entrepreneurship research, education and outreach. The Charles Koch Foundation will provide $5.6 million to support the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute (SEI), an interdisciplinary institute fostering entrepreneurship through educational initiatives, applied research and outreach.

Paid over five years, the $5.6 million grant will enable the E. J. Ourso College of Business to expand the SEI team and fund research. The grant includes funds for an institute research director and additional faculty. Research support will be used to produce applied academic research on barriers to innovation and entrepreneurship in Louisiana and the region. Students can take advantage of new fellowships along with expanded teaching and research opportunities, including those for undergraduates. Outreach programs, including workshops and conferences, will encourage an exchange of diverse ideas related to the institute’s mission. 

The Charles Koch Foundation grant marks the most recent influx of support for entrepreneurship research and education within the E. J. Ourso College. In 2007 Emmet and Toni Stephenson, LSU alumni and entrepreneurs, gave $4 million to the Entrepreneurship Institute, renamed the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute. The Stephenson’s, passionate supporters of entrepreneurship education and research, earmarked another $6 million donation to the E. J. Ourso College in 2016. Those funds, to be spaced out over 10 years, led to the renaming of the Department of Information Systems and Decision Sciences, now the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship and Information Systems (SDEIS)​. In addition, the university has made an annual commitment of $550,000 for faculty salaries.

“We are thankful for the support of the Charles Koch Foundation,” said Richard D. White Jr., dean of the E. J. Ourso College of Business. “The impact of this gift and our entrepreneurship programs stretches across campus, and beyond. This gift will enable us to continue the groundwork that was laid by the generosity and leadership of Emmet and Toni Stephenson. We are promoting new ways of thinking that will benefit society. The work made possible through this grant will positively impact students, the regional economy, and businesses in Louisiana and beyond.”

“For decades, LSU has been a leader in providing students the knowledge and skills to approach the world as entrepreneurs. We are thankful for the opportunity to join the Stephenson’s in supporting LSU’s vision for expanding entrepreneurship education and research to benefit even more students and improve the lives of people in Louisiana and beyond,” said John Hardin, director of university relations at the Charles Koch Foundation.

“For three decades, LSU and the E. J. Ourso College have intentionally focused on growing entrepreneurship offerings,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “Through this new grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, the university’s existing commitment and the generosity of the Stephenson family, funding for entrepreneurship programs at LSU exceeds $12 million. This demonstrates the commitment of both the university and our supporters toward leveraging the leadership of our students, faculty and alumni, who offer creative and innovative solutions that catalyze economic development and shape the economy of tomorrow.”

Students wishing to add entrepreneurship to their curriculum have a variety of options offered through SDEIS.

  • Launched this fall, the Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship builds upon the core business curriculum by providing students with focused coursework needed to start or own a business, pursue opportunities within larger corporate contexts, or pursue social entrepreneurship endeavors. This degree must be paired with another bachelor’s degree offered by LSU.
  • Open to any LSU student, the entrepreneurship minor provides deeper exposure to entrepreneurship theory and practical experience.
  • All LSU students are eligible to apply for the Entrepreneurship Fellows Program through a competitive application process. The year-long program provides exposure to best practices and one-on-one mentoring from practicing entrepreneurs, business leaders, and scholars. Fellows also complete an internship.
  • Elective courses in entrepreneurship are available to all LSU students who want to develop specific knowledge, skills, and field experience.


About the E. J. Ourso College of Business

Since its establishment in 1928, the E. J. Ourso College of Business has continuously improved and expanded its offerings for students and alumni. Additionally, the college has made it a priority to provide its faculty with the resources it needs to further research in every aspect of the business world and to produce industry leaders for a global work environment. For more news and information about the E. J. Ourso College, visit

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About the Charles Koch Foundation

More than 50 years ago, Charles G. Koch began supporting education in the belief that everyone has the ability to learn, contribute, and succeed if they have the freedom and opportunity to do so. The Charles Koch Foundation, founded in 1980, continues this work by funding research and education that helps people expand their horizons, develop their skills, and help others. Through grants to more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide and non-profit organizations, the foundation connects scholars, students, and partners with the resources to explore diverse ideas and solutions that meet the challenges of our day.  For more information visit​


Angela McBride
LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business