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Charlton family story basis for UMass Dartmouth business planning class

Freshmen in the College of Business gain inspiration from the biography of the late Earle P. Charlton, pioneering Fall River entrepreneur

More than 400 UMass Dartmouth Charlton College of Business freshmen are getting an introduction to business organizations via the inspirational family story of the college's biggest benefactor.

Professor Steven White and Lecturer Godwin Ariguzo co-created the course, which focuses on familiarizing students with the late Earle P. Charlton, a pioneering Fall River entrepreneur who opened a chain of 53 retail department stores that would become part of the Woolworths brand during the early-20th century.

As part of the course, students read the Charlton biography and compete in a business plan competition that will be judged by faculty members and Charlton's grandson, Earle P. "Chuck" Charlton II. Funding for the course is provided by the Charlton Family Trusts, which has made several gifts to the university including $3 million to the Charlton College's building, which opened in 2004.

"They don't know about his entrepreneurial spirit. This course gives them an introduction to Mr. Charlton's entrpreneurial spirit and motivates them to become successful," White said.

The course, via the real world Charlton story and hands on business plan exercise, is designed to immediately immerse first-year students in the excitement of the business world.

"I try to simplify and demystify business, that's what teaching is all about," Ariguzo said.

"Business plans are often not taught at the high school level. Many students don't know what takes place behind the scenes and what needs to be done in order for a business to be successful."

Aindrea Benduzak of Rockland, Julianne Anderson of Abington, and Joshua Bessett of Taunton said the class is opening their eyes to the realities of business and entrpreneurship.

"There are about a 100,000 things I didn't know that I have to know," said Benduzak. "You have to know what you are doing."

"You have to run a lot of tests to see if an idea is going to work," said Anderson. "They are all different tests and steps that have to be taken before an idea can begin."

Prizes of $250, $100, and $50 will be awarded in May to the winners of the business plan competition.

Author:  "John Hoey"
Date:  19-Apr-2006
Department:   Charlton College of Business

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