John S. Brinzo Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (CEBI)


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  • Funding opportunities
  • Entrepreneur-In-Residence (E-I-R) services and mentorship
  • Student Organizations
  • Open, collaborative working spaces and conference lab
  • Team of supportive alumni in specialized industries
  • Dedicated business resource librarian and research station
  • Monthly mentoring sessions with business owners
  • Weekly brainstorming meetings to collaborate with peers
  • Networking with top local entrepreneurial organizations


  • To proactively promote entrepreneurial spirit throughout the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship and lend support to students through community engagement, mentoring and research.

The Center is open to all, especially those who:

  • Have an idea;
  • Are attempting a new venture;
  • Wish to incorporate their entrepreneurial mindset within a corporation.

Headshot of CEBI staff member Shawn Rohlin


Shawn Rohlin Ph.D. - Director

Entrepreneurial Research Fellows

Shawn Rohlin PH.D. - Director of CEBI, Associate Professor of Economics

  • Research interests include studies on how government policies impact local economic factors, such as business location decisions. He received the Junior Scholar Award from the Lincoln Land Institute in 2011. In 2012, he received the David C. Lincoln Fellowship in Land Value Taxation. His research earned the "Most Outstanding Paper" in 2011 for Public Finance Review.

Robert D. Hisrich PH.D. - Bridgestone Chair in International Marketing

  • Research interests include domestic entrepreneurship, international entrepreneurship, international business, new venture creation, entrepreneurial finance, venture capital and growing your firm.

CEBI Mentoring Network

  • The CEBI Mentoring Network is a group of engaged alumni who help make decisions about the future of CEBI. Interesting in being a part of our network? Click the link below to contact us.



Idea Pitch

Each fall semester, the Center hosts an idea pitch competition that focuses on ideas for products or services not yet making revenue. The Ohio Innovation Fund has donated seed money to ensure that each finalist wins a cash prize. In addition, the first-place winner will earn a guaranteed spot as a CEBIpitch finalist in the spring.

Watch the 2021 Idea Pitch (video)

Access the Idea Pitch Website

2022 CEBI Pitch winners posing with winning checks


Each spring semester, the Center hosts a Shark Tank style pitch competition to support student startups. If accepted, students go through a three-month long mentoring program designed to help them grow their business, craft a professional business pitch and get exposure to business and entrepreneurship experts. Applications open in December and students have the chance to win up to $20,000 in cash prizes.

Access the CEBIpitch Virtual Website



Startup Resources


  • The Student Venture Funds were established to help support student-initiated businesses that have been approved by the John S. Brinzo Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. The Venture Assessment Grant is geared toward students with a proposed business while the Venture Growth Grant is intended for students that have a completed business plan, feasibility analysis and are committed to launching the venture. For more information on how to apply for the Student Venture Funds and Venture Growth Grant, please email

Student Organizations

  • Northeast Ohio Student Venture Fund (NEOSVF)
    • NEOSVF gives students the opportunity to understand new venture creation by teaching them the due diligence on companies they are investing in. Learn more about NEOSVF. If you are interested in joining, please email Kent chapter president Grant Schuchter at
  • Sigma Nu Tau Honor Society
    • Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society is a student organization for accredited universities. Its mission is to be a collegiate honor society that recognizes students, faculty members and entrepreneurs who have either excelled in the study of entrepreneurship or who are exemplary models of principled entrepreneurship.


  • Donald S. Grant Travel Award and Scholarship
  • James and Phyllis Difiore Endowed Scholarship
  • Link Keehfus, JR. Memorial Scholarship in Entrepreneurship
  • Ray's Place Scholarship
  • Tim Eippert Scholarship For Entrepreneurship


Headshot of student entrepreneur Gregory Joyce

Gregory Joyce II is a senior finance major at Kent State University. He founded Provok Clothing in the spring of 2018. Provok Clothing is a brand designed to display powerful symbolism that represents social issues through design and meaningful content. Based on topics trending on its social media platforms, Provok creates content on clothing that is positive, educational and addresses controversial topics being discussed by college students. The brand has gone viral on social media platforms and shortly after was invited on a college tour to spread its mission across eight college campuses. The brand has been supported by social media influencers, music artists, entertainers and athletes all echoing the mission of Provok.


Picture of alumni anne cate sowing her product

Anne Skoch, a 2018 graduate of Kent State University, is the CEO and founder of Anne-Cate; a Cleveland-based accessories boutique featuring Made in America city skyline silhouette purses and pillows. Founded in 2016, the Anne Cate skyline collection has expanded to feature purses, pillows and handbags with skylines of more than 125 cities, including Seattle, Chicago, Columbus and New York. All Anne-Cate products are handmade in small batches at her manufacturing studio in Cleveland, Ohio. Each product is created using sustainable and quality materials, sourced in the United States. Anne-Cate has been featured at maker's fairs such as The Cleveland Flea as well as in more than 80 museums, boutiques and department stores across the country. She has also made products for Hulu and Key Bank’s corporate office. Anne won first place in the second annual CEBIpitch competition.


  • The Michael D. Solomon Entrepreneurship Speaker Series brings experienced entrepreneurs and educators to campus each semester to share professional insights and wisdom with students and community members. This endowed program is supported by Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship alumnus Michael D. Solomon. The series held its first lecture in May 2008. The Michael D. Solomon Speaker Series is presented by the Crawford College's John S. Brinzo Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (CEBI).



Interested in helping the Center?

We are always looking for other businesses, entrepreneurs, alumni and local businesses to help expand the CEBI mission. If you are interested in working with us, please contact us using the link below.