Lynn business dean launches innovation challenge to teach key business skills

Kruczek sees creativity and entrepreneurship as essential skills for America’s economic future

Published Apr. 11, 2012

Thomas KruczekThomas Kruczek, dean of Lynn University's College of Business and Management, has launched the Howard Isaacson Innovation Challenge to teach the university’s students how to develop an innovative idea for a new product or business, research it and pitch it to a group of investors.

“Innovation is one of the most important business skills to have today,” Kruczek said. “It’s important that our students have the opportunity to learn about it while here at Lynn. This contest will teach them how to do research, talk to clients and pitch an idea. Rather than another business plan idea, we want them to come up with a novel idea that can really work as a business.”

First place winners take home $5,000; second place wins $1,500 and third place gets $500. The College of Business has developed a new course, BUS 397, that will start this fall semester specifically to help students prepare for the contest—although they can still participate without taking the class. Entries are due by Jan. 25, 2013.  Judges will review these submissions to determine what proposals make it to the semi-final round. Contestants will then need to give a 20-minute presentation and leave 15 minutes for questions from the judges. The judges will then decide who makes it to the final presentation round to be held on April 25, 2013. 


Kruczek focuses on teaching entrepreneurship skills such as good writing, presentation skills, critical thinking and ability to obtain a holistic view of how a business works because he feels business innovators and people who think like an entrepreneur will be best equipped for America’s future business culture.

“The whole concept of entrepreneurship is taking on a much greater degree of importance,” Kruczek said. “A lot of companies are talking about innovation, but it's more than just coming up with a new product. It's innovation in how to motivate employees, how to grow, how to hire more people, how to become more profitable.”

This is because he believes that innovative and creative thinking is the best way forward for a successful economic future and a continued recovery from the Great Recession. 

“The success of our economic recovery is going to come from continual innovation,” Kruczek said. “To be a successful country, we must innovate. We can't hope any longer that a large company is going to be dropped in our lap in whatever community we happen to be living in. What we really need to see is more companies starting and growing our economy.”

As a dean at Lynn University, site of the final 2012 presidential debate, Kruczek also shared thoughts about the importance of the economy in the coming election.

“The economy is going to play a central role in the discussions going on through November because that's how people are going to vote. They will vote based on whether they have jobs or their friends have jobs,” Kruczek said. “Our leaders need to look at the economy as a whole and then find ways to drive confidence. If they can make people feel confident and that the economy is going to improve, it will.”

More on Kruczek

Thomas Kruczek is dean of the College of Business and Management at Lynn University. He assumed this role in August 2011 after serving as executive director of the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. Under his leadership, the Falcone Center rose considerably in the national rankings and is now listed as the 3rd best entrepreneurship program in the country by Bloomberg/Business Week, 4th by the Princeton Review/Entrepreneur Magazine, and 9th by US News and World Report. In addition to academic experience, Kruczek built and sold several successful companies.

He can discuss America’s business culture, the economy, the role of small businesses in economic growth, the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation, business ethics, women entrepreneurs, and about how higher education can help the business community.