His own boss

His own boss

Recent LSU graduate Sean Simone describes the atmosphere among job-hunting college seniors as competitive and stressful.

"It's definitely not all cheery and positive. It's an every-man-for-himself mentality," says Simone."I don't think people our age realized it was this bad, but now they're hit with it."

Simone graduated in December 2011, but unlike most of his peers, he didn't look for a job. With help from the Louisiana Business and Technology Center's Student Incubator, Simone launched an integrated marketing firm in July 2010 that reached profitability before his graduation. He and business partner Trevor Reeves recently transitioned their firm, BluReach, into the LBTC, which has helped start and grow more than 540 new businesses.

"I think I realized while I was a student that I would have to do something different or I would end up working in a job I didn't want," says Simone. "There weren't the big, creative ad firms in Louisiana that I wanted, so it seemed like the right thing to do."

BluReach is a marketing consulting firm that focuses on integrating a company's online interactions. It provides website design, search optimization and social media.

The LBTC Student Incubator is located on LSU's South Campus and enables current students with a business idea to move into office space and access technical assistance from LSU Flores MBA program graduate assistants as they launch their business ideas.

Entrepreneurship will sprout up in other parts of the university as well, says LSU Chancellor Mike Martin.

"We're going to introduce an entrepreneurship minor that will help our students, especially those in fields like music and dramatic arts and others, to enhance their business skills," says Martin. "We're going to do that in several curriculum areas."

LSU College of Engineering Dean Richard Koubek notes that entrepreneurship was recently added to the list of attributes of LSU Engineers. "Our field is about creative problem-solving, so looking at the world entrepreneurially should be a goal of our graduates," he says.

Simone, a College of Agriculture graduate, filled his student years less with studying and more with finding business mentors and on-the-job training. He also started an organization for local entrepreneurs called SeNSE, which hosts pitch nights for budding entrepreneurs.

"I wanted to get my hands dirty," he says.

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