Amidst economic downturn and various budget cuts at the university, the Miami University Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Farmer School of Business has received a gift of $250,000 from Frederic and Julie Holzberger, two alumni entrepreneurs.
The $250,000 gift will help create endowments to support programs within the Thomas C. Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, both located in the Farmer School of Business.
Both Holzbergers have been recognized as successful entrepreneurs in their own right. Together, they operate Aveda Frederic’s Institutes in both Cincinnati and Indianapolis-a business that has been nationally recognized as a model of social and environmental responsibility. Holzberger himself hopes this donation will emphasize the idea of social entrepreneurship.
“Profit is not a bad word-it is necessary to do a lot of things but you have to give back to totally come full circle,” he said.
Junior Lexi Lucchese, an entrepreneurship minor, felt the donation will help the program.
“I think this is perfect timing because this year the program has really picked up speed, it’s perfect to help get the word out about the entrepreneurship program and will hopefully expand the program,” she said.
Jay Kayne, the Cintas Chair and Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, believes that this gift is important for two reasons.
“Having successful alumni like the Holzbergers-having their names visible as contributors as supporting the program, particularly in the new building-is a signal to our new students that an important part of being an entrepreneur is giving back,” he said.
Additionally, in honor of the Holzbergers’ donation, a conference room and resource center will be named after them in the new Farmer School of Business building.
According to Kayne, this conference room and resource center will serve as a “hub of interaction between students, faculty and alumni.”
“Students will have a great opportunity,” he said.
This donation has an increased importance in a time where cuts are being made across the board at Miami.
Roger Jenkins, dean of the Business School, noted that the donation is “unquestionably more helpful” in times of economic crises.
“We really have a strong need just to be able to keep operating, to really make a difference,” he said. “This year, more than ever, private gifts are going to make the difference between us having to stand still, treading water or being able to continue on the move from good to great.”
Kayne and others in the department are hoping the gift will encourage others to look to the entrepreneurship program for a career path, as opposed to merely working for a large corporation post-graduation.
“Statistics have shown that the Fortune 500 companies haven’t created a net new job in 15 years,” Kayne said. “(New jobs) are coming from entrepreneurial companies.”
The $250,000 donation will mark the second time that the Holzbergers have donated to the Center for Social Entrepreneurship.
Outside the realm of monetary contributions, Frederic Holzberger has been involved with the Institute for Entrepreneurship for several years and currently serves on the institute’s board of advisers.
“The school is fortunate to have them as partners,” Jenkins said.