Shore Entrepreneurship Center names first research director

Birton Cowden
Birton Cowden

Birton Cowden regarded as one of the nation’s top entrepreneurship researchers

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 8, 2018) — The Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center housed in Kennesaw State’s Michael J. Coles College of Business has selected Birton Cowden as its first research director.

Cowden joins Kennesaw State from the University of Massachusetts, where he served as director of new ventures at the Isenberg School of Management. He also co-founded the University of Massachusetts’ Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, which received the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program Award in 2016 from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

As one of the country’s preeminent researchers on the topic, whose work on corporate entrepreneurship and disruptive business models has been published in top entrepreneurship journals, Cowden is eager to break new ground with the Shore Entrepreneurship Center.

“From an academic standpoint, entrepreneurship is a relatively new area to explore,” Cowden said. “There is a lot we still don’t know about startups, the people that start startups, organizations trying to be entrepreneurial, and whether universities are effectively teaching the entrepreneurial skill set. I hope to create a bridge where this research has an impact on our students and on the greater Atlanta economy.”

Chris Hanks, founder and executive director of the Shore Entrepreneurship Center, said that Cowden’s background makes him uniquely qualified to help expand the center’s scope into powerful, relevant research.

“Dr. Cowden is unique in the world of entrepreneurship as he has performed impressive research and has the leadership credentials of running a center,” he says. “There are academics with the ability to do exceptional research and there are leaders who can connect with the business community. Birton is rare in that he can do both.”

Opened in 2014, the Shore Entrepreneurship Center develops programs that encourage students and working professionals to apply entrepreneurial thinking to business challenges. Some of the center’s initiatives include housing the campus Entrepreneurship Club, connecting student entrepreneurs with mentors from the Atlanta business community, and hosting the KSU Top 100 business accelerator.

In addition to overseeing the center’s research programs, Cowden will teach classes in the Coles College of Business’s Bachelor of Business Administration degree program in Entrepreneurship, which is the first comprehensive entrepreneurship degree in the University System of Georgia. Cowden will be an assistant professor in the Michael A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality.

“As Coles College continues to grow both the Entrepreneurship Center and our innovative entrepreneurship degree program, it is exciting to see talented leaders like Dr. Cowden becoming a part of both,” said Kathy Schwaig, dean of the Coles College of Business. “Great things are in store for entrepreneurship education at KSU.”

Cowden earned a Master of Science in Strategic Management and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Saint Louis University. He is Lean Launchpad certified and has studied Design Thinking at Stanford University. 

— Patrick Harbin



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university's vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. A Carnegie-designated doctoral institution, it is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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