Entrepreneurship in Action at John Carroll University: The Muldoon Center’s St. Clair — Superior Pro

As the saying goes, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Upcycle St. Clair is a comprehensive arts-based strategy that shows how creative reuse can lift an entire Rust Belt neighborhood through education, community advancement and market-driven responses, demonstrating that creativity is the key to Cleveland’s renewal. John Carroll University’s entrepreneurship program is providing the fishing rods, line, lures, bait and, most importantly, the training necessary for helping students create permanent impact in the St. Clair — Superior neighborhood. Progress is currently underway to bring additional entrepreneurial resources to the St. Clair — Superior neighborhood through a multi-faceted academic and experiential partnership.


Changing the world starts small — with a single person, with a single conversation, with a single community. The Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship at John Carroll University (JCU) empowers its students to change the world through entrepreneurship. In the spirit of practicing what you preach, the Muldoon Center, under Director Doan Winkel’s leadership, is spearheading the early stages of this partnership between the school and the community. JCU stakeholders are co-creating programs with residents and business owners in the St. Clair — Superior neighborhood, located roughly seven miles away from their campus.


St. Clair — Superior has a population of just under 7,000 residents and a rich history that dates back over 120 years. “The neighborhood embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, but has been ignored by organizations, donors, educational institutions and others for far too long,” says Dr. Doan Winkel, John J. Kahl, Sr. Chair in Entrepreneurship and Director of the Muldoon Center at John Carroll University. “By intentionally building a responsible partnership strategy, St. Clair — Superior business owners and residents, the Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship, and John Carroll University students and stakeholders will all learn and grow together,” Doan continues.

The St. Clair — Superior Project The St. Clair — Superior Project will include several phases that will span many years. As the entrepreneurship program at John Carroll University enters a new stage, one pillar of the new program is social innovation. The focus of this pillar is creating permanent impact in the St. Clair — Superior neighborhood. This pillar hopes to yield high impact relational, learning, and economic outcomes for neighborhood residents and business owners, and for John Carroll University students, faculty, staff, alum and partners.


Doan and JCU staff are putting the finishing touches on the short-term plan, to include a variety of listening campaigns to better understand the current situation of business owners and residents in the neighborhood. They look forward to learning more about the neighborhood, beginning early-stage initiatives, and building trust-based, long-term relationships with business owners and residents. This plan includes JCU students helping grow local businesses, as well as creating a downtown “campus” that houses learning spaces, an innovation lab, and a pop-up shop space. This facility would host entrepreneurship courses and workshops for students and members of the community. It would also be a hub where entrepreneurs and social innovators from around Cleveland and the region would converge to learn, share, and build. Plans are also in the works to create a Blue Streak Entrepreneurship Clinic that would allow entrepreneurs and business leaders to serve as mentors to current and aspiring entrepreneurs in the community, or those looking to start a local business.

One of the first programs Doan is piloting is female JCU students mentoring female Saint Martin de Porres High School students around digital marketing and entrepreneurship topics through Lynda.com. This effort is meant to empower the students to assist local businesses with (digital) marketing, and to kickstart students’ careers as employees, freelancers or business owners.


Saint Martin de Porres High School is a Catholic college-preparatory high school that combines innovative academics with a unique work program preparing students of limited economic means to become men and women of faith, purpose and service.


Another developing effort has John Carroll University students working with Saint Martin de Porres High School to deliver professional development workshops and clinics to prepare the high school students for college life and beyond. Staff from across the University, including Doan, are scheduling meetings and spending time in the community to establish connections, build relationships, and learn about the needs of the community.

John Carroll University’s Boler College of Business Professional Development Program


Next Steps The next step in this project will come in the Fall of 2019. “We will have a larger and more active presence with dozens of students getting involved providing assistance to local businesses,” says Doan.

Upcycle Parts Shop is the leader in sustainable art and craft supplies in Cleveland. We are a non-profit dedicated to provoking creativity & promoting community through reuse.Doan and his team also plan to expand this program to other neighborhoods in the Cleveland area. “Our first goal is to create a permanent, positive presence in the St. Clair — Superior neighborhood,” Doan states. “Once we work through that process and understand a path to that goal, we can then scale that to other neighborhoods around Cleveland, and to other schools around the country and the world to help them create impact in their surrounding neighborhoods.” Doan says, “We’re focusing on guiding students to change the world and shape their future with entrepreneurship, which will take us down interesting and impactful paths. I’m excited to see where they take us!”

Stay tuned for updates about the St. Clair — Superior Project. To learn more or partner with us, contact Doan Winkel at dwinkel@jcu.edu.

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