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12/2/2004

CU program aims to cultivate, foster entrepreneurship

By Quentin Young
Times-Call News Group

BOULDER — A program at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s College of Music is helping artistically talented students learn how to market their skills once they graduate.

While notes and rhythm are the college’s main subjects, the Entrepreneurship Center for Music offers courses aimed at improving students’ business acumen.

The center was founded in 1998 with a grant from the Louis and Harold Price Foundation, which keeps an office in Louisville and has donated $125,000 a year to the center.

“Without them, we wouldn’t exist,” Kevin Woefel, the center’s director, said of the Price Foundation.

The foundation, through its Price Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, has pioneered entrepreneurial education since the institute’s creation in 1979, according to foundation President Timothy Jones.

Jones works from the foundation’s Louisville office along Hecla Drive.

“Anyone who’s been in entrepreneurship education for any length of time knows the Price name,” Jones said. “(Harold Price) was truly a groundbreaker. He was an entrepreneur in the area of entrepreneurship education.”

Louis Price, who Jones said is known for developing the two-stick popsicle, established the foundation with his son Harold in 1951.

Over the years, the foundation supported a variety of causes.

However, in the late 1970s, Harold Price became passionate about an academic field that at the time was rarely taken seriously in college business schools: entrepreneurship.

“Business schools wouldn’t teach that,” Jones said. “Entrepreneurship was a bunch of gunslingers.”

Harold Price’s own alma mater, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, declined to participate when he first created the Price Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

However, other schools, starting with Babson College in Boston, saw potential in his ideas.

That school still hosts a symposium for entrepreneurship educators that bears the Price name.

Price’s other beneficiaries include UCLA and New York University.

“Now, what many business schools are finding is most of the students want to learn entrepreneurship,” Jones said. “There’s no business school around that doesn’t have an entrepreneurship track.”

At one point, about half of Price Foundation’s funds were donated through the Price Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. But as a new generation of Prices has assumed control of the family foundation — Harold Price became seriously disabled in the early 1990s and died last January — its donations through the institute have declined to about 33 percent. The foundation this year donated about $85 million.

Also, Price Foundation’s entrepreneurship donations typically go directly to entrepreneurs these days, not universities.

Jones said the interests of younger family members are different from Harold Price’s, but he said at least some portion of the Price Foundation will continue to go toward entrepreneurship.

“As long as I’m here I feel it’s my responsibility to remind them it was an intent of his,” he said.