Yvonne J. English, '97

Executive Director, Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation (E+I); Professor
All FacultyEntrepreneurship

Contact Information
Phone: 724-450-4029
Email: EnglishYJ@gcc.edu

Yvonne J. English, '97

Education

  • MPS, Technology Entrepreneurship, University of Maryland - A. James Clark School of Engineering 
  • B.A. International Business and French, Grove City College 

Certifications

  • UC Berkeley: Lean LaunchPad for Educators Certificate (Taught by Steve Blank) 
  • International Business Innovation Association (InBIA): Business Incubation Management Certificate 
  • Certified GrowthWheel Consultant

Professional Experience 
I am a self-professed startup geek. Having founded several companies of my own, I have also had the privilege of coaching multiple startups through raising millions, dealing with founders’ dilemmas, and maneuvering through acquisitions. I love working with founders who are passionate about making the world a better place. My current focus is on redemptive entrepreneurship and approaches to support the whole entrepreneur to optimize the wellness and performance of both the founder and the startup.

I started my first (real) company at the age of 24. That company, which was eventually sold, was a boutique consulting firm specializing in investments and corporate retirement plans in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Two years after founding the firm, I went to Toronto, Ontario, Canada as an international management consultant for the U.S. Pension Division of Manulife Financial (primarily known as John Hancock Financial here in the U.S.). 

Following that assignment, I joined McGladrey, the fifth largest accounting firm in the country. After becoming the unit’s number one salesperson in the country, I was tasked with turning around our most unprofitable office in Phoenix, AZ. After doing just that, I became the unit’s first National Operations Director, coordinating the operation of several offices across the nation servicing 5,000 clients with over $7 billion in assets.  

After much prayer and self-reflection, I made the leap and founded a nonprofit business incubator in 2011 where I coached 21 companies over a five-year period. The incubator, which won the 2012 SV Chamber Phoenix Award for Innovation, was also awarded the 2013 Pennsylvania Economic Development Association’s Project of the Year for the state. Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, publicly stated that the EDA planned to use the incubator as a template for economic development in rural areas around the country.

My additional entrepreneurial projects include ReEnergy, an alternative energy project in Texas, and Salvagist, an online retailer of accessories made from up-cycled materials. I sold Salvagist to Earth Lover Shopping in August 2010. In 2013, I co-founded a mobile app/web company, BuzzBurrito, which was acquired in 2018.

I now have the distinct honor and privilege of serving at my undergraduate alma mater, where I get to teach incredibly talented students and to build a program that is in alignment with my personal calling to create a better world through the application of redemptive entrepreneurship.

Visit www.yvonneenglish.com to view my complete bio. 

Courses

  • Technology for the Entrepreneur
  • Lean LaunchPad (LLP)
  • E-commerce
  • Startup Founders' Dilemmas
  • Digital Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation for Impact (I4I)
  • Independent Research (VentureLab and Startup Immersion Courses)

What advice do you give students to help them succeed?

This one’s a hard one for our “Grover-Achievers” -- don’t be afraid of failure. Fail fast and move on! 

From experiencing live case studies of entrepreneurs and innovators who join us in class to consulting with local businesses and interviewing real potential customers for their own venture ideas, students in my classroom come face-to-face with the real world. While doing so, they are able to see that people and ideas fail…all of the time. They begin to understand that failure is not something to fear and that valuable lessons can actually be gleaned from experiencing failure. They also learn how to pivot and reboot - lessons that are not only keys to succeeding in entrepreneurship but also keys to succeeding in life.

Selected Publications

  • Entrepreneurship at Grove City College. Annals of Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy, 2018.
  • “Temperature and Heat Flux Data-Logger For use in Tunnel Ovens: An International Partnered Project,” Proceedings of the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE), 2018.
  • I have also been published in more mainstream media such Views and Voices magazine and served as a featured contributor to SheOwnsIt.com, a leading digital publication celebrating, supporting, and connecting women entrepreneurs.

Media Coverage

  • ABC (33 WYTV) 
  • CBS (WKBN 27) 
  • Arizona Woman Magazine
  • Phoenix Business Journal
  • Butler Business Matters
  • Youngstown Business Journal
  • Vindicator
  • Butler Eagle
  • Brighton-Pittsford Post
  • KeystoneEdge.com
  • Sharon Herald
  • Kiva B4B
  • Butler Business Matters
  • New Castle News
  • Cranberry Eagle
  • Oh-Penn Magazine
  • Allied News
  • OpportunityLives.com
  • City of Hermitage Community Update
  • The Ride Home with John & Kathy (WORD FM)
  • Pittsburgh TEQ Magazine.

Is there any personal experience you would like to share?
I love the Toronto Maple Leafs, traveling, theatre, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and spending time with my friends and family. I am lucky enough to be married to an amazing guy, Kyle, a Canadian American who serves as the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Western PA and Eastern OH. 

In 2017, I took students to the European Innovation Academy in Turin, Italy. In 2018, I was asked to return as a mentor for several international teams. 

I served as an ambassador at the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco due to my work in the field. I was a bit starstruck (but played it cool) when I met Alexander Osterwalder, the creator of the Business Model Canvas. (You must understand – he’s basically Beyoncé to entrepreneurship professors!) 

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