OGDEN -- Serial entrepreneur Alex Lawrence has been named vice provost for Innovation and Economic Development at Weber State University.
Lawrence, a Bountiful resident and graduate of Weber State's MBA program, will lead the campus Technology Outreach Center that supports the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) economic development initiative.
His role will be to help people from Weber State and from surrounding communities develop their ideas for products and businesses, then help bring together the educational experts and business leaders who can bring ideas to fruition.
"I believe the past 17 years I've spent as a serial entrepreneur and business owner will serve me well in this new role," said Lawrence, 36. "As a graduate of Weber State, I'm excited to come back here and pursue these new opportunities to connect and engage the community and local industry with the expertise and resources at the university."
Lawrence's most recent success has been as a partner with Lendio, a company that matches businesses with funding and loan options. In 2010, Inc. 500 ranked Lendio as the fastest-growing company in Utah, second in the nation in its business services category, and 34th overall in the nation. Lawrence is founder and owner of Lawrence Capital Management, a multi-industry holding company started in 1998 that invests in a variety of start-up, growing and mature businesses, including TwitJump, Franchise Foundry and TGIFridays. Lawrence is author and owner of The Entrepreneurs Blog (theentrepreneursblog.com), where he shares his business experiences and expertise.
His Twitter account has more than 39,000 followers. Lawrence teaches an Internet marketing course for the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics at Weber State University.
Weber State provost Mike Vaughan said he interviewed local and national candidates for the position, then hired the best candidate.
"As an entrepreneur, Alex brings to this role firsthand experience in a variety of fields, from retail to information technology," Vaughan said. "His breadth of experience is truly outstanding and will be a great asset to us."
A traditional entrepreneur is one who typically comes up with an idea, starts a business, then runs the business, day to day.
A serial entrepreneur continually comes up with ideas, starts new businesses, then sells them or hires others to run the companies.
"Alex's role will be to take activities going on and off campus, and to push various ideas toward commercialization, to create business and to foster economic development," Vaughan said.
"We think Alex's breadth of experience, his enthusiasm and his commitment to Weber State will be great assets. In teaching classes in Internet marketing for the MBA program, he has been very well-received by the students. We think Alex is almost a perfect fit. His expertise, his enthusiasm and his excitement can make things happen."
Lawrence said he is excited about working with people in the community who have business ideas, and will post a schedule online where interested parties can sign up for an appointment.
The site is not yet set up, but Lawrence said he will publicize details when he has them on his Twitter account, @_AlexLawrence.