CLOUD L. CRAY CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Housed at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, “The Cray” was established in 1996 for BC students and others in the community as an effort to teach and support entrepreneurship. We have such a wonderful opportunity here at Benedictine College to give people a learning experience in entrepreneurship that is unlike any other. It is because of who we are as a Catholic college that makes the experience so unique.

Like a diamond, the value of something can’t always be measured in size. Diamonds are some of the world's smallest stones, yet their value is unmatched. It is the quality that adds the value to this precious stone. We believe the same is true when teaching entrepreneurship. The limited size of Benedictine College creates an environment where each student is incredibly valuable and we are able to help them explore entrepreneurship in a very hands-on, down-to-earth manner. That doesn’t mean the vast wealth of entrepreneurial knowledge is not taught. On the contrary, it means that we are able to take the widespread world of entrepreneurship, help students to dissect what is most essential, then help them along the road to successful business ventures.

The Cray Center and Benedictine College would like to help you in your entrepreneurial efforts. We know that it is the “little” things that make the difference - a handshake, mentoring, a creative idea, a deep belief, hard work every day, attention to detail, or a strong will. When these little things are meshed together with the vast knowledge of entrepreneurship, we know that a diamond can be discovered.

We want to help develop successful entrepreneurial endeavors that will make this world a better place. We hope you take the opportunity to “cruise” through this website to see all that we have to offer.

HISTORY
In June of 1996, a group of successful local entrepreneurs headed by Bud and Dick Cray decided it was time to start something at BC that would encourage students to pursue entrepreneurship as a viable road to business success.

You are now seeing the fruit of their labor in the continued growth of "The Cray."

WHAT'S IN A NAME
The Cray Center for Entrepreneurship is named after the most successful entrepreneurial family the town of Atchison has ever housed. Cloud L. Cray came to Atchison, Kansas, where Benedictine College is located, in the early 1900’s. He created and built what is now MGP Ingredients, the largest business in Atchison. His sons, and now grandchildren, have started or built several other local businesses. The Cray Center was established by the generosity of the Cray foundation and the Cray family. It is in the true “Cray spirit” that the mission and approach of the Center is molded.  Mr. Cray’s sons, Bud and Dick, still remain involved in the Center to this day.

THE MISSION
The mission of the Cray Center is to spread entrepreneurship across the Benedictine College campus, assist local area businesses, and provide unique entrepreneurial opportunities for future, ethical business leaders.

Why should you get involved with the Cray Center?
 

  • 70% of young Americans envision starting a business or doing something entrepreneurial as adults.


What classes have you taken or what experiences have you had that will help you to succeed in starting a business?
 

  • As a college student, you will spend most of your time in your major. Yet, down the road you probably will start a business in that field or another you are passionate about.


How can you make it work?
 

  • We have an answer: Keep studying in your field, but spend time in the Cray Center for Entrepreneurship learning how to create or run a business. This way, you will be preparing for success down the road, whether it be next year or 10 years from now!


We want to see you, as a student or friend of Benedictine College, step into the creative world of Entrepreneurship. Therefore, the Cray Center for Entrepreneurship was established to accomplish this three-part mission:
 

  • Spread entrepreneurship across the Benedictine college campus
  • Assist local area businesses
  • Provide unique entrepreneurial opportunities for future ethical business leaders



OUR APPROACH TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP
It's the "little" things that make the difference.  Like the value of a diamond, it's the quality, not that size that matters most.  Benedictine College's approach to entrepreneurship gives the unique opportunity for students to succeed in new business ventures because of our experience that...smaller is better.

As a small, Catholic, residential, Benedictine liberal arts college, we have a wonderful opportunity to teach and cultivate entrepreneurship in a unique way.  Our approach is born from the fertile soil that the people of the Midwest have tilled for years.  We believe that a successful entrepreneur has the following characteristics: 1) a strong, midwestern work ethic, 2) well-trained for business success, 3) solid family values, 4) a sincere concern for others, and 5) a willingness to risk and be creative.

Of course, you will learn all of the typical skills a successful entrepreneur needs - business plan development, feasibility studies, networking, fiscal responsibility, and funding - just to name a few.  However, those who learn and experience entrepreneurship through the Cray Center will have a unique advantage because of the belief that a handshake still means something and your word is as good as gold.  You will know that good values and hard work will not hurt a business.  Rather, as people in the Midwest have learned over the centuries, they will be the main reasons you succeed.

Keep in mind, David's appraoch was better than Goliath's!

FUNCTIONS OF THE CRAY CENTER
The functions of the Cray Center include:
 

  • Opportunties to create new ventures in the safety of the academic setting
  • Offering entrepreneurial mentorship to current students
  • Provide numberous resources for students to learn and "tryout" entrepreneurial endeavors, including business plan development and funding
  • Regular lectures and learning from successful entrepreneurs
  • Providing a method for examining the feasibility of new ventures
  • Bridging the gap between a business concept and the real world implementation of a new idea
  • Promoting the Benedictine College Business Department's image in the business and entrepreneurial community

 
CONTACT US
Phone: 913.360.7633
Executive Director: David Geenens