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Entrepreneur Spotlight

Entrepreneur Spotlight

Marc Kuehntopp '06
Rite-Way Canvas

Rite-Way Canvas has been operating in Winona since 1936. The company began as an upholstery shop specializing in slipcovers, and through the years has grown into a full service "Canvas Shop." Rite-Way Canvas fabricates a variety of products, including awnings, custom marine canvas, all types of upholstery, machine covers, truck tarps, and the list goes on. My family has operated the business since 1991, and I recently became CEO in 2010.   Marc Kuehntopp '06, Rite-Way Canvas

My experience at Saint Mary’s University has aided me being in business for myself in several ways. First, my education in both entrepreneurship and accounting has provided me with the intellectual skills that I need to understand all aspects of my business. The broad based "business core" curriculum allows me to understand the relationships between accounting, marketing, operations, and human resource management, and the efficiencies that are gained by getting the segments to work together effectively. Secondly, my experience at SMU helped enhance my ability to think "outside the box." The challenging upper level classes in both my accounting and entrepreneurship classes taught me that you won’t always find the answers to problems in text books. To be successful, an entrepreneur needs to be innovative and try new things to set his/her business apart from its competition.

The addition of the Kabara Institute to the Saint Mary’s community will benefit students greatly in the way it links students with successful entrepreneurr. The sharing of both entrepreneurial successes and failures adds a practical component to the classroom. The experiences that students are able to share with real entrepreneurs through the Kabara Institute add a great "real world" component to the strong curriculum taught by the SMU Business Department.