October 3, 2023
Mars Hill University announces a $1 million gift to the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership from donor Paul Romesburg. The center is a multifaceted resource for students interested in business and entrepreneurship, housed within the university’s business administration program.
Romesburg, a retired entrepreneur and business executive from Weaverville, says his entrepreneurial instincts kicked in as he saw some of the resource challenges facing the university in launching the center.
“I asked myself, ‘What could he do if had the resources he needed?’” said Romesburg, referring to the center’s executive director, James Heinl. “James has the vision. Let’s just take this [resources] off the table and let’s hit the ground running.”
Heinl recalled Romesburg’s enthusiasm for the program, “Paul told us he wanted to turbocharge the program. His time and his investment have done just that. We have big plans and a big vision, and this is just the beginning. It’s pretty incredible that we’ve come this far in less than a year.”
The entrepreneurial leadership program includes a student business club, scholarship program, small business incubator, financial literacy, case competitions, internships, student consulting, business partners in education, community outreach, and eventually, a Main Street facility to connect with the local business community.
“To me, that’s the unique, different thing about this program versus any other entrepreneurial leadership programs out there,” said Romesburg. “It’s practical. It’s teaching real world skills. This is a program that was developed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that, where we’re teaching what we lived.”
Students and the community are already being impacted by Romesburg’s generosity and the program. The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership has awarded three student incubator grants to MHU students and hosted a high school case competition with six teams from area high schools.
The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership will host a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, October 5, 2023, at 4:30 p.m., on the third floor of Day Hall on the university campus.
The university also recently received confirmation of a significant grant for the center from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Among other priorities, that $200,000 grant will help fund scholarships for students in Mars Hill’s entrepreneurial leadership academic program.