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April 22, 2020

Retiring leader leaves SVSU program in strong position to support regional businesses challenged by pandemic

David Bell, associate director for entrepreneurship, experiential learning and continuing education.As its leadership changes hands, a Saginaw Valley State University entrepreneurship-supporting program will continue its momentum at a time when the business community needs it most, officials say. 
David Bell later this month will retire as SVSU’s associate director of entrepreneurship and experiential learning, a role that put him in charge of the university’s Dow Entrepreneurship Institute since February 2018. Izabela Szymanska, an SVSU associate professor of management, will serve as Bell’s interim replacement. 
Funded by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, SVSU’s Dow Entrepreneurship Institute stimulates the creation of new business ventures, serves as a resource for research activities aimed at business innovation, and provides internship opportunities with area businesses for students. 
Students and faculty will work with the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute to provide operational, marketing, financial and strategic analyses for regional businesses facing challenges after the COVID-19 virus led many companies to temporarily close, said Anthony Bowrin, dean of SVSU’s Scott L. Carmona College of Business. The institute also will work with businesses to better understand how the virus impacted technology and consumer-buying behaviors such as an increased demand in product delivery services via online apps. 
Bowrin said much of the work will be accomplished by pairing the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute with the offices of other business-focused programs housed in SVSU’s business college. Those programs include the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center–Northeast office; the Small Business Development Center regional office; and the Stevens Center for Family Business. 
Because of the momentum Bell helped build at SVSU’s Dow Entrepreneurship Institute, the program is in a strong position to provide that support, Bowrin said. 
“I appreciate David Bell’s contribution to the advancement of the mission of the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute over the past two years as he supported the entrepreneurial endeavors of students, faculty and the wider community,” Bowrin said. 
Bell previously served as Dow Chemical Co.'s associate commercial director from 2003-15. 
Bowrin expressed excitement in the talent presented by Szymanska, who worked with Bell in strengthening the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute in recent years. 
“Dr. Szymanska is the lead faculty member for entrepreneurship programs in the Scott L. Carmona College of Business,” Bowrin said. 
“She has worked closely with David Bell to provide innovative entrepreneurship experiences for students including mentoring several students. I am confident that Dr. Szymanska will consolidate the great gains made by the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute under David’s leadership.” 
Those gains included the promotion of entrepreneurial initiatives among students and faculty, mentoring students developing projects related to entrepreneurship, and developing outreach programs that advance initiatives that benefit local high school students as well as members of the regional community. 
The institute offers workshops, contests and external speaker events that give students an inside view of business ownership and management. Through the institute’s community connections, students earn the opportunity to work directly with local business leaders while learning from established entrepreneurs. 
The institute works closely with educators who teach entrepreneurship classes at SVSU, providing support while supplementing students’ coursework by bringing real-world business experience into the classroom. 
For more information about the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute, visit