Kabara Institute lights entrepreneurial spirit - Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Skip to Main Content
Go Back

Kabara Institute lights entrepreneurial spirit

October 16, 2017

BIzTech Business and Communication Kabara Institute News Science

WINONA, Minn. — With new leadership, visionary ideas, and innovative community collaborations, the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary’s University is announcing its fall schedule of events. The public is invited to watch as students pitch their passions and participate in important community discussions about the social and economic impacts of entrepreneurship. Above all, the public is invited to celebrate and support entrepreneurship at the regional and student level.

The goal of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies is to ignite an entrepreneurial spirit in students across all fields of study at Saint Mary’s. What is an entrepreneurial spirit? It is the drive to innovate or improve what already exists, to create new methods or processes, to be a change-maker, and to not accept the status quo.

To cultivate that spirit, events are designed to connect motivated students with successful business owners who can provide mentorship and a place-based learning experience that will allow students to learn, grow, and identify their passions.

The Kabara Institute helps students:

  • explore options for tailored internships while still in school;
  • design and develop their business ideas through year-over-year mentorship; and
  • connect with entrepreneurial-focused businesses to develop relationships that will support the local community and provide a launch pad for their personal passions.


  • ENACTUS: A social entrepreneurship team is forming on campus to design and execute a business idea that will have a positive impact on the Winona community: http://enactus.org.
  • Internship Job Fair — Oct. 25, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Toner Student Center. The Kabara Institute partners with the Business Department and Career Services to co-sponsor a fall job fair on campus. Students will meet with prospective employers interested in offering internships as well as job opportunities. The institute seeks to promote place-based learning through internships with employers who wish to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit within our student body.
  • Guest Speaker Meredith Speier — Oct. 27, 12:30 p.m., Toner Student Center, Room 9. The Kabara Institute and the PR/Business Club will co-sponsor this dynamic speaker and entrepreneur who started the company InSpeier in the Twin Cities. Her client portfolio includes Best Buy, Graco, and Capella University. Come hear how she leverages market research to improve the customer experience.
  • Startup Weekend — Nov. 3-5. In partnership with Collider Core, Saint Mary’s is pleased to offer our students the opportunity to participate in this national program. Students will collaborate with a team of entrepreneurs to design a business plan for an emerging idea over the course of an intense weekend.
  • 1 Million Cups — Nov. 8. The Kabara Institute is excited to partner with the City of Winona and other key local organizations to bring this global entrepreneurial program to the Winona area. Based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee, the Kauffman Foundation developed 1 Million Cups—a free program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs with their communities.
  • Arts and Entrepreneurship Panel Discussion — Nov. 9, 7 p.m., Figliulo Recital Hall. Key players in the regional arts industry—including the directors of the Great River Shakespeare Festival, MidWest Music Fest, Minnesota Marine Art Museum, and the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts—will share their experiences in bringing arts-based businesses to Southeastern Minnesota. The public is invited to hear how the arts contribute to our entrepreneurial landscape. A reception will be held 6 to 7 p.m. in the lobby of the Performance Center.
  • Elevator Pitch Competition — Nov. 14, 4 p.m., Saint Mary’s Hall, Room 409. Students will pitch their business ideas in 90 seconds or less for cash prizes. A panel of professors from across campus will offer feedback and help students take this initial idea and work toward a more comprehensive business plan to pitch in spring.
  • Student Entrepreneurial Showcase — Nov. 16, 6 to 8 p.m., Saint Mary’s Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center, Rochester. Students will present their projects at a community demo event co-sponsored with Rochester Rising.


  • Guest speaker from the manufacturing industry (January)
  • “Science in Business” speaker panel event (February)
  • Business plan pitch competition (March)
  • Guest speaker on medical business development (April)
  • 1 Million Cups sponsorship and engagement with the business community (monthly)

About Christine Beech

Christine Beech is an assistant professor of business and the executive director of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. Christine has extensive teaching, research, and consulting experience in the areas of strategic management, leadership development, contract management, succession planning, social entrepreneurship, and small business management. Prior to joining Saint Mary’s, Christine spent 15 years in the corporate world, where she led the development of a multi-million-dollar business line for a global consulting firm before launching her own consulting business in the Washington, D.C., area. Before transitioning into business, Christine served in the military, enjoying a 20-year career in the intelligence field.