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JCU’s Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship Releases New Strategy to Foster Innovation

John Carroll University’s Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship is home to curious students working to identify and solve big problems and launch solutions using their innate creativity and passion. The award-winning entrepreneurship program spearheads this mission and their goal to “launch innovative change that creates value” with a new strategy:

Explore Possibilities.

The Pillars

Three pillars form the foundation of the entrepreneurship program at John Carroll University:

  • Campus learning

  • Women entrepreneurship

  • Social innovation

Campus Learning

The heart and soul of the program is the entrepreneurial mindset. This mindset revolves around creativity and innovative thinking, which can apply to any major, business, or job a student pursues. There is an entrepreneurship minor currently in place, which is the largest minor on campus, and consists of nearly 50/50 students from the Boler College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences.

The minor is designed to complement every major on campus, and is grounded in the University’s values-based Jesuit education, which emphasizes critical thinking, ethics, global issues, reflection, and service to others.

Combining any major with the entrepreneurship minor gives a student the opportunity to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, to work in teams of business, STEM, and liberal arts students solving real-world problems, to build and launch your ideas, and to develop skills employers say are essential.

There are also numerous opportunities for students to engage in learning and practicing the entrepreneurial mindset outside the classroom. These include a variety of competitions and hackathons.

This graphic shows the existing (blue) and proposed (grey) components of the Curriculum Pillar.

Women Entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurship program is creating a pathway for young women to discover their passion, explore that passion, and develop it to create their own career path through the women entrepreneurship pillar.

“We want John Carroll to be the place for any young woman, anywhere in the world, who is interested in entrepreneurship or creating their own future to accomplish it here,” says Dr. Doan Winkel, John J. Kahl Sr. Chair in Entrepreneurship & Director of the Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship.

“When any young woman, whether they are in Cleveland, Cairo, or Kathmandu, thinks about changing the world, we want them to instantly think about John Carroll University.”

This pillar will be built around a series of events that will be created by John Carroll University stakeholders, and will be marketed to schools across the globe as a way to create broader impact. There will be six verticals, as shown in the graphic below. In each vertical, programming includes the following components where young women learn and practice the skills and mindset applicable to that particular vertical:

  • a college campus event (limited to ~100 students)

  • a citywide event open to all

  • high school modules, where college students visit high schools to deliver short modules around the components of the particular vertical

  • overnight retreats and summer camps where students dive very deep into the skills and mindset of the particular vertical

The JCU Entrepreneurship team created their first event under the Dare to Dream vertical in Fall 2018, and are expanding that to a citywide event where every high school woman in Cuyahoga County is invited to an event in Fall 2019! Robust curriculum is currently being developed and scheduled to be launched in the near future.

Social Innovation

The third and final pillar is social innovation. At John Carroll, this means creating social and economic value by deploying sustainable solutions (which address the root cause of a problem) to systemic social issues. This focus will include a Social Innovation Fellows (SIF) signature scholarship program and a Social Innovators-in-Residence (SIR) program.

The SIF program is a scholarship and growth opportunity for incoming John Carroll University freshman dedicated to creating social innovators and entrepreneurs inspired by Ignatian values. This fellowship produces graduates who can identify opportunities for innovation in the marketplace, and can design and execute solutions for sustainable social change.

Through curricular and co-curricular paths, students will develop an entrepreneurial character as they:

  • Develop a holistic awareness of self and others

  • Cultivate a habit of reflection

  • Understand, value, and respect their own and others’ talents, unique characteristics, and socio-cultural identities

  • Develop a personal belief system that is inspired by Ignatian values (rigor, generosity, gratitude, inclusivity, solidarity, and a desire for the greater good)

  • Practice mature decision making and care for the whole person

  • Act competently in a global and diverse world

We will accomplish this by challenging students to grow in the following areas:

  • Mindset: SIF will develop their entrepreneurial mindset. They will develop curiosity and a desire to experiment, and collaboratively and iteratively build solutions around social issues in their community.

  • Reflection: SIF will be reflective learners. They will integrate curricular and co-curricular learning experiences to advance their understanding and practice of social innovation and entrepreneurship. The curricular path will consist of the SIF completing the Entrepreneurship Minor as a cohort.

  • Sustainability: SIF will demonstrate a commitment to sustainable social innovation. They will actively engage with their community to empathize with & understand the problems citizens face, and to build responsible, sustainable solutions.

  • Advocacy: SIF will advocate for social innovation and entrepreneurship. They will be a catalyst for social innovation and entrepreneurship across the John Carroll campus, and in communities around the world.

The SIF program will give students access to six experienced, successful social entrepreneurs and innovators each year who can guide them during the early stages of their social innovation and entrepreneurship journey. Students will also get hands-on experience by participating in the St. Clair-Superior Project, which you can learn more about here.

Students also have the opportunity to engage in social innovation around the world. The entrepreneurship program leadership team is currently exploring partnerships with schools and communities in Tanzania, Ghana, and Nepal.

This graphic shows the existing (blue) and proposed (grey) components of the Curriculum Pillar.

Our Core Values

Five core values underlie these three pillars.


The Muldoon Center builds resilient students who can persevere through failure, creating fearless and adaptable graduates.


Innovation is one of the core aspects of entrepreneurship that can apply to any career path, whether a graduate is starting a business, working for a startup, or a non-profit, or a multinational corporation. The new strategy will yield creative and curious graduates. “Innovation is the heart and soul of what we are,” says Dr. Winkel. “We dream about it. We build with it. We challenge our students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders with it. Anything we touch, we intentionally try to innovate it.”


Pursuing a passion can lead to rewarding and meaningful work. Muldoon Center faculty and staff encourage students to be generous and bold, and to have fun while exploring what excites them. Paired with the skills they will learn in the experiential elements of the entrepreneurship program, students will pursue their passions to build credibility.


John Carroll University is building a community around entrepreneurship on campus and in the greater Cleveland community. The goal of this community is to more meaningfully connect students to real learning experiences, where they can practice the skills they are learning in their coursework. This core value is centered around acting with intention, learning while doing, building relationships, and collaborating with and adding value to others.


The leadership of the Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship believe in the importance of integrity. Entrepreneurship faculty and staff encourage students to be transparent and aware of what is going on in their lives and around them, and to always be authentic.

Helping Students Change the World

Dr. Doan Winkel and the Muldoon Center team are proud to share the new strategy with current and prospective students who want to change the world. The Muldoon Center is a team of dedicated faculty, staff, and students imagining and building the next frontier of entrepreneurship education and experiential learning. Below is a depiction of the team and how they fit into the leadership structure of John Carroll University.

“As we continue to build new programs on the strong foundation of our entrepreneurship minor that has quickly become the most popular minor on campus, our goal is to help every current and future student change the world in their own way,” says Dr. Winkel.

The Muldoon Center outlines several goals as part of this new strategy, including an international entrepreneurial skills competition, a new Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, a campus-community startup accelerator, the previously mentioned St. Clair — Superior Project, and updated core curriculum for the entrepreneurship minor.

To engage with the John Carroll University Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship, contact Dr. Doan Winkel at

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