New Director Named for Center for Entrepreneurship

Dr. David Desplaces, director, Center for Entrepreneurship

The Center for Entrepreneurship is relaunching under the new direction of David Desplaces, assistant professor of entrepreneurship.

Desplaces’ vision for the Center is for it to become the primary point of contact for entrepreneurship development in the region. “We want the Center for Entrepreneurship to be the go-to leader of entrepreneurship in the Lowcountry, and South Carolina,” Desplaces says. “Our hope is that the Center will be seen as a service provider to facilitate growth and development of businesses in South Carolina.”

Brenda Dispenza, MBA, is the Center’s assistant director, and will work closely with him on the new direction.

The Center for Entrepreneurship’s mission is to develop regional entrepreneurial ability by helping current and future entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, while supporting responsible enterprises. “We want to help a business grow in the early stages, and then continue to be its catalyst for development,” Desplaces says.

“Entrepreneurship is important to the Lowcountry, to the state, and beyond, and we are excited that David will be leading the Center,” says Alan T. Shao, Dean of the School of Business at the College of Charleston. “With his experience and energy, I’m confident that it will be a great success.”

The Center for Entrepreneurship’s efforts will be unique and not duplicate what other groups are currently doing for the entrepreneurship community. For instance, Desplaces eventually intends for the Center to partner with valuable resources to entrepreneurs, such as the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Administration, and the Flagship.

Additionally, he hopes to cultivate relationships with the other Schools and departments at the College, in an effort to promote and nurture entrepreneurial values at the College of Charleston.

Desplaces has been involved with his family’s oil business since the age of 14, as a director of both management service and holding companies specialized in oil services and outsourcing in the Middle East.  He also served as the Middle East Affairs Trade Mission specialist for the SC Department of Commerce.  Desplaces launched the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at the University of Hartford. He is the co-founder, and current chairman of Possibilities without Borders, a non-profit organization, which offers international service learning projects by providing participating students, faculty, community members, and other partner organizations the necessary resources to achieve each project’s goals.

As the faculty advisor of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team at the School of Business, the team is competitive on both the regional and national stage.  He has been awarded the “Forty under 40” award twice: once in Charleston, S.C., and once in Hartford, Conn. Each year, Desplaces travels around the world with students to teach study-abroad classes in places such as Dubai, Cameron, and Paris.

Dispenza received her MBA from Charleston Southern University and her bachelor of science in business administration from the College of Charleston.  Previously, she worked at SCE&G, Westvaco and Weichert Realtors. Other roles in the School of Business included director of advising and adjunct professor. 

To learn more about the Center for Entrepreneurship, please contact David Desplaces at (843)953-6446, or desplacesd@cofc.edu.

 

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