CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 27, 2013 -- Dr. James Stapleton, executive director of the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and associate professor of entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University, has been appointed assistant to the president for Strategic and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, effective immediately.
In his new role, Stapleton will be responsible for the long-term strategic planning of academic and outreach programs, projects and initiatives which foster development of an increasingly entrepreneurial economy in the Southeast Missouri region that inspires and encourages individuals, businesses and communities to adopt a culture of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
According to Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, “Dr. Stapleton’s expertise in entrepreneurship and innovation are integral to pursuing the University’s strategic priority to enhance economic productivity in Southeast Missouri and the southeast region. As a member of the University’s administrative team, he will be providing insights and ideas in how the University can further assist in enhancing an entrepreneurial ecosystem that leads to quality jobs for our region and in providing our students with programs that help them adopt an entrepreneurial mind-set to prepare them to compete in the increasingly competitive global economy.”
In Stapleton’s tenure as executive director of the CIE, he has led the Center in becoming one of the most comprehensive entrepreneurship-focused university centers in the Midwest, offering a wide array of academic and outreach programs and services, including: research and development; entrepreneurship education, training and mentorship; and business and financial services.
“I’m pleased to continue to work with the talented administration, faculty, alumni and staff at Southeast to expand the reach and impact of our entrepreneurial efforts for the benefit of the students, businesses and communities we serve in southeast Missouri and beyond. It’s more important than ever that we equip our graduates, clients, and communities with the tools they need to be successful in the new economy”, said Dr. Stapleton.
Stapleton joined the Southeast faculty in 2006, and since has extensively revised and expanded the Harrison College of Business curricular offerings in the areas of entrepreneurship and innovation. He developed a 15-credit hour minor in entrepreneurship available to any student on campus; an upper-division University Studies course in entrepreneurship; and in collaboration with other units across campus, focused minors in entrepreneurship in agriculture, the arts, biology, fashion, health management and industrial technology. He also revised the option in entrepreneurship under the management major and established an option in entrepreneurship under the MBA degree program.
He was appointed director in spring 2008 of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, the forerunner to the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and he will continue to serve as executive director of the CIE, working to advance the teaching, practice and science of entrepreneurship so as to stimulate economic growth and development through new venture formation, technology commercialization and improved competitive performance of entrepreneurial enterprises.
Stapleton’s accomplishments in development and expanding the curriculum in entrepreneurship were recognized with a $1.2 million private gift and the naming of the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in May 2011. At that same time, Greene announced the establishment of the James L. Stapleton Endowed Scholarship to honor Stapleton for his tireless efforts in the development and incubation of the innovation and entrepreneurship programs at Southeast. Stapleton also has been successful in attracting more than $2.4 million in competitive grants to support entrepreneurial outreach, focusing on birthing and growth of small businesses in rural areas.
Stapleton has provided important mentoring to students interested in entrepreneurship and has led annual Global Entrepreneurship Week activities in the fall and National Entrepreneurship Week events in the spring. In 2009, Southeast programming during Global Entrepreneurship Week was rated fourth nationally. In 2011, Missouri was ranked third nationally for programming and Southeast was ranked number one among participating Missouri colleges and universities.
Stapleton also has been integrally involved in the development of Operation Jump-Start, a nationally recognized microbusiness development program that has trained more than 750 aspiring entrepreneurs who launched of over 325 businesses in southeast Missouri. In 2011, JumpStart was selected for integration into a project to increase entrepreneurial capacity in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state federally designated Delta Regional Authority. The Delta network is projected to train over 1,000 aspiring entrepreneurs who will start 300 new businesses in 2012. Because of the expansion of Operation Jump-Start into this area, the CIE was chosen as the top program in Missouri and recognized in May by the Southern Growth Policies Board with a 2012 Innovator Award. In 2013, the program received additional support from the Delta Regional Authority to create a new web-based portal to expand the reach of this program.
Stapleton received his Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership and management from Friends University and earned his master’s degrees in business administration and business education from Southern New Hampshire University. He holds a doctoral degree in workforce education and development from Southern Illinois University.
He has more than 10 years of entrepreneurial and business development experience in a variety of market sectors, including retail, light manufacturing, and telecommunications and information technology services. His academic career includes more than 10 years of secondary and postsecondary teaching experience.
Stapleton has authored several articles for various publications, and has received the Best Research Paper Award twice at the National Business Education Research Conference.
He was named the 2010 University Educator of the Year by the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce; the 2012 Faculty Merit Award winner; and, The 2012 Provost’s Research, Instruction and Development for Excellence Award winner.
He has been appointed to the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus Executive Advisory Committee and elected to the University Economic Development Association Board of Directors and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity Board of Directors. He has served MAGNET, the local economic and business development agency, and he has made presentations to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.