Follow Christ, Lead the Way
Ohio Christian Sees Startup Center as 'Front Door' for Business Community image

By Emily Bench, Staff reporter, Columbus Business First

John Kulaga sees Ohio Christian University as an important partner in Pickaway County’s educational and economic development efforts.

Kulaga, president of the Circleville school since last year, said to reach not only the school's business students but also the community at large, Ohio Christian last August launched the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center.

"We are a great front door for anyone who wants to do business here," he said.

"The 22,000-square-foot, collaborative space is very much community endeavor," Kulaga said. "The idea is that we’d have not only entrepreneurs setting up shop there, but also have them pour into the community members here."

The university donated land for the $10 million center, which provides incubator space for startup businesses and serves as a job-creation and workforce development hub for the community and also houses the School of Business & Government.

"Of our 59 different programs, the school of business is our largest," he said. Around 1,200 students are enrolled in the school.

On Nov. 3, the center is hosting a free event open to entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to launch their own business. It will be held in collaboration with a Christian networking group and the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center. (To find out more and to sign up, click here.)

"In 2013, it was the dream of OCU to spearhead an initiative that would serve our economically oppressed area – an initiative that would create new jobs and businesses here," said Craig Brown, vice president of entrepreneurship for Ohio Christian. "Our center was born out of that vision. Now, this conference will inspire people to make ideas a reality; we expect great participation."

Rob Kopp, the chief operating officer for Metro Data Center, is one of the keynote speakers at the event. He said that this will create exactly what is needed in the area – business development from leaders as well as students.

"I’ve experienced a lot of students with a startup desire," he told me. "When I was in college, I hadn't even heard of that word. Now, OCU offers its own (minor) in it – it's evolving."

When Kulaga took the helm as president last year, there were big shoes to fill. Kulaga's predecessor, Mark Smith, in 11 years as president had grown the small bible college in Circleville from 400 to 4,600 students. The private school was struggling to make payroll and in financial distress when he took over. He's credited with increasing employment from 500 to 800, launching online programs, and directing millions in capital construction projects.

Kulaga said that growth has continued over the past year. Enrollment remains at around 4,000 students, the operating budget of $42 million has held steady and $30 million in construction endeavors are underway.

"We are focused on not just getting not just bigger, but better," he told me. "We want enrollment growth, but we also want retention and graduation rates to go up.

"Access to education is great, but not if you don't complete it."

Before student aid and scholarships, tuition at Ohio Christian University is $22,000.

Archived Articles of Interest

Academically Speaking…Business Management at OCU image

Academically Speaking…Business Management at OCU

Academically Speaking…Business Management at OCU image

Published: June 17, 2014

 Ohio Christian University offers a unique Business Management program because it prepares students to integrate Christian principles into both the personal and professional life. It equips them for management roles in both profit and non-profit organizations, and teaches them how to apply management principles from a Christian perspective in these organizational settings. The inclusion of a core of Bible/Christian Worldview classes ensures that this education is morally and ethically grounded."OCU helped me strengthen my character by providing me with excellent academia through the
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OCU Approved to Offer Master of Business Administration image

OCU Approved to Offer Master of Business Administration

OCU Approved to Offer Master of Business Administration image

Published: June 7, 2012

Ohio Christian University (OCU) received word that it is now approved to offer the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Management. This was the final approval required from the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accreditation organization. Beginning in August, these programs will be offered through OCU’s convenient College of Adult and Graduate Studies with the option of taking online or one-night-a-week evening classes.Dr. Tim Eades, Vice President for the College of Adult and Graduate Studies, stated, “We determined the need for these programs by surveying
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Ohio Christian University (OCU) received word that it is now approved to offer the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Management. This was the final approval required from the
OCU Business Students Visit New York Stock Exchange image

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OCU Business Students Visit New York Stock Exchange image

Published: May 1, 2012

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2012 Business Plan Competition image

2012 Business Plan Competition

2012 Business Plan Competition image

Published: April 9, 2012

 CIRCLEVILLE - Five finalists in the 2012 Business Plan Competition at Ohio Christian University (OCU) were honored Monday evening with awards and a dinner at OCU’s Science and Logistics Center.The students involved in the voluntary competition are a part of the university’s Business and Government Department. To participate in the competition, students had to develop a business plan and present it to a panel of judges.The first place winner of $4,000 was Michael Farrell, a senior, for his presentation on his business, Mike’s Landscaping. Farrell said that developing a plan for his
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