The University of the Virgin Islands has appointed Dr. Chandra S. Mishra to fill the Kiril Sokoloff Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, the University's first endowed chair. He comes to UVI from the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University, where he served as the Office Depot Eminent Scholar Chair for Small Business Research. At UVI, Dr. Mishra will also serve as a special assistant to the president for entrepreneurial initiatives. His appointment was effective August 15.
In making the announcement, UVI President Dr. David Hall said "This is an exciting time at the University." He said Dr. Mishra "brings a wealth of experience in the field of entrepreneurship in the areas of teaching, scholarship and professional service."
Dr. Mishra will be based on the St. Thomas campus. Dr. Hall said he will also be responsible, in part, for the development and implementation of a new Center for Entrepreneurship, overall guidance and oversight of the 13D Student Entrepreneurship Competition, and the cultivation and promotion of entrepreneurship throughout the University and the Territory.
"I'm excited to join President Hall and his executive team in the president's efforts to transform this great university, UVI, into an exceptional university, a university that will be a common resource for the region and for the community, creating jobs and boosting economic growth," Dr. Mishra said.
He is initially teaching a course titled Financing New Ventures, with about 15 students enrolled. He stresses that this course, and others that he plans to develop into a more extensive entrepreneurship program, will have a strong experiential component. "It will involve students working with real world investors. It gets the students outside, involved and excited. It opens doors for them."
Dr. Mishra also echoes Dr. Hall's interest in developing entrepreneurial initiatives in the Territory. "Not only do we want to build an entrepreneurial culture within the University," he said. "The greater mission is to help build the Territory and the community." An early way to do this will be to expand the 13D Entrepreneurship Student Competition - which produced the first crop of funded, UVI student entrepreneurs earlier this year - in a number of ways.
First he would like to involve experienced, successful entrepreneurs and faculty members more closely with the competing teams. This would include providing ongoing support, such as serving on the boards of the new ventures spawned by the competition, and developing a method for monitoring how winners are progressing toward their goals. His second step would be building a bridge to the community that doesn't yet exist. This would involve adding two tracks to the competition, one for high school students and another for the general public.
"I want to invite students and the general public to join the president and me in this exciting time for the University," Dr. Mishra said.
Dr. Mishra brings more than 20 years of higher education experience to UVI, beginning in 1990 in the School of Management at Loyola University in Chicago. He has also served on the faculty of the College of Business at Oregon State University and at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. During more than eight and one-half years at Florida Atlantic he was instrumental in the development of the College of Business' entrepreneurship and executive MBA programs. He also developed and taught courses in venture capital and private equity, mergers and acquisitions, global business planning, and innovation and technology.
Ten of his last 20 years of research and publication focused on the area of entrepreneurship. He has published in academic journals such as Entrepreneurship Research Journal, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Financial Management, the Journal of International Business Studies, the Journal of International Financial Management and Accounting, and the Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance. He has served as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Small Business Management and now serves as co-editor of the Entrepreneurship Research Journal. He also served on the editorial advisory boards of the Journal of Private Equity and the Nankai Business Review International.
The Sokoloff Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship was made possible by a $5 million gift from investment strategist and entrepreneur Kiril Sokoloff in May of 2011. Sokoloff, the founder of 13D Research, pledged $1 million annually to UVI over a period of five years. His gift is one of the largest ever received from a single donor in the University's history. His company was attracted to the Virgin Islands through the efforts of the University's Research and Technology Park. Sokoloff is also a member of the advisory board for the University's newly launched Caribbean Green Technology Center.
In May of 2012, four UVI students - Patricia Rogers, Ghadeer Taha, Heba Abdallah and Shoshana Pemberton - won a total of $60,000 in the inaugural 13D Student Entrepreneurship Competition. The prize money is being used to support start-up businesses that the students conceived and developed as part of the competition. A total of 72 UVI students in 21 teams participated.