Butler President James Danko, a former entrepreneur, encouraged students to follow their passions and to lead a life of unlimited possibilities during his keynote address for the College of Business’ (COB) “Entrepreneur’s Passion and Wisdom Program” on Oct. 28.

Nearly 400 Real Business Experience (RBE) and Freshman Business Experience (FBE) students listened attentively to President Danko as he shared the fundamentals of entrepreneurial creativity and innovation, risk taking, perseverance, and the need for continuous action.

Danko came to Butler from Villanova University, where he served as the dean of the School of Business for six years. Before working in academia, he spent nearly 20 years as an entrepreneur, starting his first company — Exercare Corporation — at the age of 19 in Cleveland, Ohio. What started as a surgical supply company in 1973 grew to include home and corporate fitness equipment, exercise rehabilitation and orthopedic products by the time Danko sold the company in 1990.

“The lessons President Danko shared with the students reinforce the experiential learning process that we facilitate in the RBE course,” stated Richard Halstead, RBE coordinator.

This semester, 28 student teams have created new business ideas and launched the start-up of their businesses to prove their concepts. Some of the businesses include: Dawg Bytes, a company that teaches computer skills to senior citizens in retirement communities; BU Entertainment, a company focused on finding, managing and promoting Butler talent; and EnviroNuts, a company that sells Soap Nuts – a green laundry detergent alternative from India.

RBE lead instructor and event coordinator Denise E. Williams, assistant professor of marketing and management , shared, “As a new faculty member committed to teaching and research in entrepreneurship and organizational behavior, I was encouraged to learn of the background of our new president. When he expressed his interest to speak to students about his experience, I was honored to create a venue where as many students could gain exposure to his message as possible.”

The event also included the RBE Business Marketplace, where the 28 businesses networked, exchanged ideas, sold products to each other, gained competitive information and sought collaboration opportunities between businesses. The new RBE website (http://blogs.butler.edu/rbe/) and new library guide on “Entrepreneurship and Innovation” were also launched.

Sophomore business major Ally Crain attended the event as part of her RBE class.

“President Danko gave a great presentation and it was really interesting to learn about his experience with entrepreneurship, especially since he began when he was our age,” said Crain.“His stories were truly inspiring and it was beneficial for the RBE groups to hear his speech because it directly related to what we are going through now in class.”

Williams said that was exactly what she hoped students would take away from the presentation.

“The COB’s goal with this event was to create a platform to empower and inform RBE students by presenting the entrepreneurial experiences of President Danko,” said Williams. “It created an exciting way to spotlight RBE students and businesses as well as present RBE faculty and mentors as small business development resources.”

President Danko’s entire speech can be found at http://youtu.be/lzF7BUwYmB8.

The RBE businesses are featured at http://www.butler.edu/cob/

The Real Business Experience (RBE) is an experiential education course designed to expose sophomore students to both content and process of small business development and internal capacity building through a comprehensive approach to learning. The curricula integrates lecture, readings, exercises, case studies, targeted to establish a strong foundation and practical application in team building, critical thinking, innovation, problem solving, decision making, risk taking, change management, resilience, and self efficacy.

Media Contact: Lexie Beach

(317) 940-6561


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