Okanagan College business students have a new expert entrepreneur to turn to for insight and advice.
Jason Richards, who has been involved in a number of start-ups and who sold one of his first companies for $28 million to Procera Networks, has agreed to be the College’s next volunteer Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
“Jason is a natural fit for this role,” explains Okanagan School of Business Dean Bill Gillett. “He has hard-won insights on what it is like to envision, start, grow – and sell – a business.”
Richards, currently the CEO of a school-focused, Kelowna-based start-up called Minga, is the most recent in a growing line of respected individuals who have filled the role at the College, Gillett notes.
They include: Dave Krysko (one of the founders of Club Penguin), Raghwa Gopal (currently the CEO of Accelerate Okanagan), Mel Kotler (the founder of Fabricland), Doug Manning (the founder of Bridges Transitions), Ed Hall (CEO of Regency Retirement Resorts) and Bill Redmond (the CEO of HRI Supply and the College’s first entrepreneur in residence in 2007).
“The benefits to students and professors in having an Entrepreneur-in-Residence of Jason’s experience and calibre is obvious. His business interests and initiatives have taken him from California to Kelowna, have ranged from start-up to corporate success and yet he keeps coming back for more,” explains Gillett.
As Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Richards will have an office at Okanagan College and he will guest-lecture in classes, consult with students one-on-one or in small groups and will work with professors to brainstorm and strategize about modern, relevant business practices.
Richards identifies himself as someone who values innovative ideas and loves to work with creative, positive teams.
“As a kid, I would have rather spent six hours designing a robot to clean my room than the 20 minutes it would take me to do it myself,” he says. “One of the principles I’ve clung to is to go out of your way to help people be successful. I think this role is an expression of how I feel about young entrepreneurs, especially those OC students taking business administration.”
“The school has an amazing reputation for students who care about business and – more importantly – are willing to put their talents to work for their communities. I look forward to further enmeshing myself in that culture.”