Jeff and Lori Standridge of Conway have established the first endowed scholarship in innovation and entrepreneurship in the University of Central Arkansas College of Business. The Dr. Jeff and Lori Standridge Innovation & Entrepreneurship Scholarship will be awarded annually to one upperclassman majoring in innovation and entrepreneurship.
“We wanted to honor the act of entrepreneurship and young, aspiring entrepreneurs and, hopefully, ease their mind a bit about meeting financial obligations while completing their degree,” Jeff Standridge said. “Our hope with this scholarship is its beneficiaries will create the next startup or corporation that employs hundreds in our community.”
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship program was launched at UCA in 2012. Students engage in experiential, hands-on activities to learn how to form and implement ideas, as well as be equipped to start a business. The program has 74 students.
“Even if these students don’t go on to start their own business, established firms and companies, public schools, universities, hospitals and health care systems want to hire innovative, entrepreneurial talent,” he said. “The program in the UCA College of Business does a great job of equipping the aspiring entrepreneur and innovator.”
Jeff Standridge is a member of the UCA College of Business Advisory Board, co-founder of Cadron Capital Partners and is involved in several venture companies that support entrepreneurs and start-up companies in Arkansas. He teaches innovation leadership and entrepreneurial finance in the College of Business.
When the couple realized there was not a scholarship exclusive to innovation and entrepreneurship majors, Lori Standridge said it was a “no-brainer” to establish one.
“It was a given for me that it needed to be done,” she said. “The number of coaching sessions Jeff has done in the last few years, the profile of companies that have moved to Conway and just the general excitement level toward the field in our community, it shows a need for this.”
The UCA College of Business is the fastest-growing college at the University of Central Arkansas with more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program.