Economics professor named Director of Entrepreneurship

Jackie Khorassani

Dr. Jacqueline Khorassani, who has taught Economics at Marietta College since 1987, has been named the new Director of Entrepreneurship.

As director, Khorassani will provide the leadership and vision for the development entrepreneurship programs including PioBiz, PioPitch and the newly designed academic minor in Entrepreneurship.

“In short, my plan is to maintain, promote, and improve the existing programs while looking for other opportunities to develop new programs,” Khorassani said. “My goal is to encourage all of our students to develop entrepreneurial mindsets and get involved in entrepreneurial activities. They must become aware that they have more power over building their future than they think. They must learn how to dream and how to make their dreams come true through hard work, determination and perseverance.”

The inaugural PioBiz, a business plan competition, was successfully conducted during the 2015-16 academic year. Petroleum Engineering majors Jon Hinson ’17 and Aaron Dillon ’17 claimed the top prize with their idea of starting a business based on the need for locating, identifying and then managing abandoned oil wells in the area. The company, Thunder Resources, is eligible to receive up to $10,000 in financial assistance, which was made available through a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

“In order to maximize the probability of the success of the PioBiz winners, the award will be released to them gradually as they make progress toward the establishment of their business,” Khorassani said. “The winning team will also be assigned office space in our ‘PioBiz Incubator’ on campus, where they can work and collaborate during their last year as Marietta College students.”

PioPitch, a forum for the Mid-Ohio Valley community to hear from local existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, started in March 2015. So far, the community has heard from 17 existing or aspiring entrepreneurs.

Khorassani took the lead on both of these initiatives, as well as the development of the minor and is a key reason why Dr. Janet Bland, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, supported the decision to put Khorassani in charge of the program.

“Dr. Khorassani is a dynamic faculty leader and an early participant in our entrepreneurial activities — one of the first to attend the Ice House training,” Bland said. “She has been the driving force behind the expansion of our PioPitch and PioBiz competition.”

As the Director of Entrepreneurship, Khorassani, who earned a Ph.D. in Economics from West Virginia University in 1997, is planning to facilitate the preparations for the inaugural Mid-Ohio Valley Entrepreneurship Expo on Saturday, Sept. 17. The College’s Hilles Hughes, Director of the Career Center, and Maribeth Saleem-Tanner, Director of Civic Engagement, are co-coordinators for the Expo.