The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary’s is hoping to expand its reach by extending an invitation to engage with all Saint Mary’s alumni entrepreneurs and hopeful entrepreneurs.

The institute was established in 2005 with a mission to “inspire the entrepreneurial spirit within students, alumni and the community by providing integrated and innovative programs.” The institute was founded by the late Dr. Jon Kabara ’48 and his wife Betty as a way to help aspiring young entrepreneurs at Saint Mary’s. Dr. Kabara, an entrepreneur in the field of medical research, and his wife Betty, also a successful entrepreneur, wanted to share their passion, spirit and know-how with the businessmen and women of tomorrow. As Dr. Kabara was a chemistry major, he and Betty especially wanted all students across the university, regardless of whether or not they were business majors, to benefit from the Kabara Institute’s mission.

James Bedtke, vice president for university facilities, assumed the role of executive director of the Kabara Institute in June. He described the institute’s main goals as fourfold:

  1. To work with students and alumni (both undergraduate and graduate) who want to become entrepreneurs or have recently started a business and are looking for advice or assistance. “We are going to identify key people who want to engage with the Kabara Institute to launch their businesses or to grow and invigorate their newly formed businesses,” he said. Through the institute’s talented advisory board and network, Bedtke said there are many valuable connections to be made. “We would like to put them in touch with mentors and advisors and provide support materials that we believe could be beneficial to them,” he said.
  2. To partner with SMU alumni who have become successful entrepreneurs or who have grown a family business. “The Kabara Institute conducts workshops, provides mentoring opportunities and hosts a speaker series,” Bedtke said. “And there are many opportunities for our alumni to share their knowledge and skills with current students, as well as to connect with other successful entrepreneurs.”
  3. To continue to raise funding. “Jon and Betty Kabara and members of the advisory board have contributed to an endowment for the institute. We would like to grow that endowment through grants, and we would also like to talk with individuals interested in supporting this institute and its work,” he said.
  4. To speak with alumni about possible internships and job opportunities for Saint Mary’s students. “I am interested in traveling to meet with alumni to talk with them about how our talented students could help their businesses, and about how our students could benefit from working with their successful organizations,” Bedtke said.

To contact Bedtke about any of these opportunities, email or call (507) 457-1458.

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