Fine-tuned BOSS program receives nomination for national award

Indiana University East’s Business Opportunities for Self Starters (BOSS) entrepreneurship program is a finalist for a national excellence award.

Tim Scales is the founder of the BOSS program at IU East. He is a senior lecturer for the IU East School of Business and Economics and the director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Center for Economic Education.

Tim Scales talks with a George Washington High School student

Tim Scales, senior lecturer for the School of Business and Economics, works with a George Washington High School student during the BOSS Summer Camp.
Photo courtesy of Victor Hill, Shadowbox Photography

Scales was asked to submit the BOSS program for a University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Excellence Award. BOSS is one of three finalists in the Talent Division.

The BOSS program previously was nominated in October 2017 for an excellence award. Scales said that experience provided positive feedback and recommendations from UEDA and inspired new ideas for the program, including a BOSS Summer Camp held with George Washington High School students this year. He said he listened to what the judges said after the presentation he gave in 2017 and adjusted accordingly. “They look for things (projects) that are scalable,” he said.

Many of the judges are also university administrators, so it’s important to know if programs can easily be expanded or improved. In short: Will it work well elsewhere?

According to its award-nominees news release: “The UEDA Awards are designed to validate and promote these programs, and to encourage their adoption by other institutions and communities. … Criterion for judging includes replicability, scalability, sustainability, impact, and originality.”

Scales is working to teach teachers and program leaders who can take BOSS to other levels, to other places. “We train somebody to be responsible in that market,” he says about this summer’s program at George Washington High School. “We teach someone to present the program and to be there to follow up with the students as needed.”

In that realm, Peggy Daniels Lee at IUPUI took part throughout the week.

“She was amazing,” Scales said about the energy and helpfulness of the chair of the undergraduate program at the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis. Daniels Lee is also a clinical associate professor of operations and supply chain management at Kelley.

Other aides from IUPUI also took part. “They helped me from the first hour and it felt like it had felt like we had worked together on this program before,” Scales said. “We had a remarkable summer.”

He met with George Washington High School administrators in May to outline this summer’s program. “We had great buy-in from the administration,” Scales said.

portrait of Tim Scales

Tim Scales

BOSS also gained great buy-in from the students during the entrepreneurship camp that ran from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day for a week in mid-July. There was just one who couldn’t attend every session, he said, and that was a football player. “It worked perfectly,” he said.

One measure for the successes was the obvious confidence and experience gained by the participants. That was palpable, Scales said.

Another measure was the quality of their class projects that the young people first imagined and then turned into a reality. “Tim said at least three projects would be marketable. That’s great,” said Denise S. Smith, dean of the IU East School of Business and Economics.

She had a chance to familiarize herself more with BOSS when they attended a conference of the IU Council for Regional Engagement and Economic Development (CREED) on August 28. Scales gave a presentation there about BOSS and IU East’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

According to its website: “CREED addresses regional economic concerns and identifies ways that IU can use its resources to advance economic development efforts in the state.”

The Center for Entrepreneurship was awarded $2,500 in 2017 and an $2,500 in 2019 from CREED to help expand the Community Innovation Center and the BOSS program.

Smith was impressed by the IU East program during the interview process. “For a small campus, it has national recognition,” she said. “There is a nationwide trend to supporting schools in entrepreneurship. It’s a growing (discipline).”

She cites several reasons for its rising importance:
— “A lot of job creation is in that sector. It’s good for the community,” she said.
— It’s also bringing more students to campus. Entrepreneurship is generally a close-up, hands-on teaching and learning experience.
— It appeals to people in the arts, she said: “They need to be able to make a living.”
— Entrepreneurship is important to the regional economy: “It gives young people more reasons to come to IU East and to stay.”

The competition is stout for the UEDA Awards. The 20 nominees in six categories include the universities of Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Houston and Virginia Tech.

IU East is finalist in the Talent Division against a school-partnership program from the University of Georgia and a program called “Inspire Idaho” from the University of Idaho, Coeur d’ Alene.
Scales will again give a presentation and answer questions before the award is handed out at the UEDA annual conference that is scheduled September 29 to October 2 in Reno, Nevada.