CSU, Chico News

Center for Entrepreneurship Director Appointed

Date: 08-28-2007

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico’s College of Business has announced the appointment of Ryne Johnson as the new director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.

“I believe that our entrepreneurship program is poised to become one of the finest in the nation, and Ryne will help us attain that goal,” said College of Business Dean Willie Hopkins. “He possesses a strong entrepreneurial spirit, has a wealth of experience in the areas of governmental relations, management and international business, and has strong ties to the entrepreneurial community. I am confident that he will take the center to the next level.”

A native Chicoan, Johnson is the co-founder and CEO of The ChicoProject, an incubator and management consultancy firm that works with local entrepreneurs. He began his career in Paris, France, serving as assistant to the commercial counselor at the U.S. Embassy. He then served as the assistant to the under secretary of housing and urban development in Washington, D.C., and in 1988 served as assistant to the political director at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile.

In 1991, Johnson returned to California to work as a management consultant for KPMG, where he completed financings and privatization projects in the United States, Europe, Asia, South America and the former Soviet Union. In 1996 he accepted a position in Perth, Australia, with Airport Group International. There he directed staff and consulting teams dedicated to financial evaluation, investor attraction and government relations relating to the acquisition and management of five airports in Australia.

In 2000, Johnson returned to Chico and has been instrumental in the establishment of the CSU, Chico Center for Entrepreneurship. He has served on the center’s advisory board since its inception and looks forward to serving as its director. ”From the time that I moved back to the area, it was clear to me that Chico State represented a strategic component in the establishment of a thriving entrepreneurial culture in the North State,” said Johnson. “I am honored to have the opportunity to assist the University in establishing a center that will both advance the school’s reputation for academic excellence and produce practical economic advancements for our region as well.”

Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in international economics from UCLA and an MA in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Center of Government.

About the Center for Entrepreneurship. To complement an expanding entrepreneurship curriculum, the College of Business established the Center for Entrepreneurship in 2005 to facilitate entrepreneurial activity in Chico State’s 12-county service area. The center works with students, faculty and members of the North State communities to offer entrepreneurial education and support and conduct solid academic research that helps entrepreneurs in practical ways. A unique resource managed by the Center for Entrepreneurship is the North State Angel Fund, which was established in 2005 to assist emerging businesses and fully-develop important intellectual properties that show great potential. Investments from the fund are structured as equity investments or debt instruments to provide maximum assistance while also allowing for a continuum of investments in newly-identified entrepreneurial endeavors.

About the College of Business at California State University, Chico. Established in 1887, the University serves an expansive service region that comprises 12 rural Northern California counties. Characterized by physical beauty, livable communities and proximity to urban centers, the region is poised to attract talented entrepreneurs and executives who seek an enhanced quality of life through relocation from urban coastal centers. The University is widely recognized for its entrepreneurial culture and is well-positioned to work with local government and economic development organizations to create a climate where entrepreneurs can thrive. Fully accredited since 1972 by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the CSU, Chico College of Business provides exemplary instructional programs that are characterized by technological innovation and experiential learning.