Small Business education pioneer honored
- March 27, 2006
Ricardo Singson has spent his teaching career promoting small business education as a crucial part of university business and economics programs.
He was instrumental in establishing Cal State East Bay's Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship - one of the first such programs in the United Sates - and the Small Business Institute here.
For his efforts to promote entrepreneurship education, Singson recently was named a Small Business Institute Directors Association fellow. He received the honor at the group's annual conference in Tucson, Ariz., in January.
Big Business. When Singson joined the business faculty in 1971, Cal State East Bay, like most business schools, focused on curriculum designed for future careers in large companies.
"We were very good at producing the company man for the big corporations," Singson said of the typical business college in the 1970s.
Yet according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses make up more than 99 percent of all employers and create 75 percent of new jobs.
Singson, who achieved emeritus status in fall 2005, was one of the first business school faculty members to adopt the Small Business Institute program the SBA created. He was a founding member of the SBI Directors Association.
When the SBA discontinued funding these university institutes, Singson kept the one at CSUEB going and still serves as its director. Through the institute, graduate and undergraduate students work as consultants to local small businesses, helping with marketing and business plans.
Even students who do end up working in large corporations need to think like entrepreneurs in today's economy, Singson said.
"We tell students to keep adding value for their employers," he said. "We teach them to be 'intrapreneurs.'"
Education pioneer. Singson also established the Students in Free Enterprise club on campus, which is part of an international organization headquartered in Springfield, Mo. He serves as a faculty adviser appointed by SIFE as a Sam Walton Fellow.
"It was a major battle to get entrepreneurship and small business education accepted as valid, and Ric Singson led the battle at this university and helped other to win the battle at other schools," said marketing and entrepreneurship professor Brian McKenzie. "These were tough days for all of us, trying to justify the birth of our field, and Ric was a leader in making this happen."
Many in the field of business education considered an entrepreneurship program more fitting for a trade school than a university, said McKenzie, who nominated Singson as an SBI Directors Association fellow.
Singson, who was born in the Philippines, earned his MBA from New York University. He was a fellow at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University when he was recruited to work for Nestle in the Philippines. He later earned a doctorate from University of Washington.
Despite more than 30 years teaching students the art of entrepreneurship, Singson said he's never been tempted to launch a business.
"Typically entrepreneurs start a venture related to something they love doing," said Singson. "I love teaching."