Southeast’s Catapult Creative House Named an AACSB Innovation That Inspires

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International has recognized Catapult Creative House, Southeast Missouri State University’s groundbreaking creative arts and industries incubator, as one of 35 innovations driving innovation in business education worldwide. The second annual Innovations That Inspire initiative recognizes institutions serving as champions of change in the business education landscape. Catapult showcases the important role innovation plays in achieving the industry-wide vision for business education. “AACSB’s recognition of Catapult’s mission and the dedication of Southeast’s faculty, staff and students to its continued success is an honor,” said Dr. Gerald McDougall, dean of Southeast’s Harrison College of Business. Catapult was chosen among more than 315 submissions, across 33 countries and was spotlighted at the (AACSB) 2017 Deans Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. [caption id='attachment_24618' align='alignright' width='200'] Catapult Creative House[/caption] “In its second year, Innovations That Inspire puts a spotlight on the ingenuity of AACSB’s member schools and the great things that can be achieved as a result of innovative and meaningful ideas,” said Thomas Robinson, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International. “Southeast’s innovation is just one example of how member schools are rejecting the status quo to address the societal needs of today and empower the business leaders of tomorrow.” Launched in May 2015, Catapult is located at 612 Broadway in a 13,320-square-foot renovated building in Cape Girardeau’s downtown business district. Catapult is the newest of many resources available for student and community entrepreneurs including the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Economic and Business Engagement Center and the Small Business and Technology Development Center. Catapult’s one-of-a-kind program is designed to bring together students and faculty from a variety of disciplines to immerse them in the entrepreneurial experience. In addition to student studio and collaboration spaces, the facility provides a retail shop, coffee bar, gallery, letterpress area, 3-D printing area, photo and paint shops, all operated by students with faculty oversight. [caption id='attachment_24621' align='alignleft' width='300'] Student studio at Southeast's Catapult Creative House.[/caption] “Since its opening, students have profoundly benefitted from Catapult’s resources and facility,” said Dr. Judy Wiles, chair of the Department of Management and Marketing and director of the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Catapult is dedicated to the promotion and encouragement of student success, from new creative ideas in their particular field to starting and running their own business.” The key element to Catapult’s success is the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the space, McDougall said. “Each discipline could stay within its silo and have the supportive infrastructure, but what they would not have is the interaction and collaboration across disciplines,” he said. “We believe one of the dimensions of diversity is diversity of ideas and perspectives and thoughts. These differences can be fruitful and generate richer ways of doing things differently.” [caption id='attachment_24619' align='alignright' width='300'] Retail shop at Southeast's Catapult Creative House.[/caption] Catapult’s entrepreneurial space was derived from a group of faculty and staff from six academic departments across campus working together and the generosity of donors including Charles Stamp Jr. of Atlanta, Georgia, and Cashiers, N.C., vice president of Public Affairs Worldwide at Deere & Company and a Southeast alumnus. AACSB’s recognition is a salute to their efforts and commitment to support any student wishing to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, Wiles said. “The integration of the creative and business planning processes is possible due to the interdisciplinary composition across Southeast’s academic programming, faculty and leaders,” she said. “At Catapult, we’ve eliminated barriers separating disciplines, departments and colleges to provide an encouraging and supportive environment.” That collaboration has had a positive impact during Catapult’s first year, including its operations committee’s development of policies and procedures, the growth of the Fault-Line Film Festival and the establishment of an annual Innovation Challenge Competition, McDougall said. “Catapult also has provided that common physical and idea space that nurtures a connection with the Cape Girardeau community,” he said. “It’s there to not just support the University, but to draw in the whole community.” [caption id='attachment_24620' align='alignleft' width='300'] Letterpress area at Southeast's Catapult Creative House.[/caption] Catapult’s second year will continue to demonstrate quality impact, said Wiles. Events include the first annual Catapult Guest Artist/Entrepreneur Speaker Series, special workshops and exhibits, as well as outreach to the St. Louis entrepreneurial community. Collaboration and the University’s entrepreneurial spirit will continue to be an important factor in Catapult’s future success, McDougall said. “An entrepreneurial mindset is important regardless of an individual’s professional education or pursuits because in today’s world every dimension is more competitive, more global and impacted by external changes in technology,” he said. For more information about Southeast's Catapult Creative House, visit For more information about AACSB's 2017 Innovations That Inspire, visit