Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
Founded in 2005 by Dr. Jon and Betty Kabara


To the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. We strive to bring together students, faculty, community members and entrepreneurs to innovate, develop and grow the entrepreneurial sprit.

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Upcoming Events

Calling All Innovators

November 19, 2019

Every year, Kabara hosts an annual Elevator Pitch competition to help further enhance the entrepreneurial spirit within our Saint Mary’s students.

Students have 90 seconds to pitch their business, product or non-profit organization to our panel of judges. Winners receive cash prizes, and all participants have the opportunity to continue the development of their ideas with help from the Institute afterwards.

Check out our Events Page for a list of our previous winners or read up on the official rules and requirements to prepare for this month’s competition!

The Elevator Pitch Competition was an amazing experience that allowed us to explore and share our ideas to a larger community.

It gave us confidence about our ideas and the opportunities to start them if we wanted to.

Anna Dale & Sarah Hardy

2018 Winners, "Ensemble"

What’s Next?

We always have more events in store! To view more calendars and to learn more about future upcoming events, visit our Events Page, or check out our Facebook and Twitter feeds below to always stay updated on times, locations and photos posted after events.

Women Founders Panel: Passion Lived Out

We would like to once again thank our panel speakers, and all those who came out on October 21st, for helping make our discussion event such a huge success.

In honor of Women Entrepreneurship Week 2019, we were privileged enough to have these women entrepreneurs come talk with the SMUMN community about the present and future plans of their businesses. It was so inspiring to hear the different experiences that each founder has encountered in her line of work, and how they have each persevered through the obstacles that stood in the way of the road to their success. These women truly live out their passions through their vocations, and we are so grateful they allowed us to hear about their journeys.

If you missed the event, you can watch the entire discussion here on our Facebook Page. Be sure to also check out their respective companies by clicking on the hyperlinks below!


Melanie Brennan

Founder, CEO & Executive Director — ExercisABILITIES

Amanda Hedlund

Executive Director — Habitat for Humanity

Benya Kraus

Co-Founder & Executive Director — Lead for America

Leena Pradhan-Nabzdyk

Co-Founder & CEO — Canomiks

Guest Speakers

Kabara frequently hosts guest speakers on the Winona SMUMN campus throughout the academic school year. From entrepreneurs to social advocates, our guest speakers pique the interest of students and allow them the opportunity to network with professionals. For a list of this year’s speaker topics and dates, visit our Events Page.

We would like to extend another thank you to our recent speakers! If you missed their presentation but are still interested in learning more about them and their business endeavors, click on the links below.

Meredith Speier 


Maggie Sonnek

Mill City Creative

Susan Langer

Live. Give. Save.

Tim Bauer

DCM Services

Expanding Opportunities

When students aren’t on campus pitching their ideas or enjoying our guest speakers, they are engaging in on-site visits to entrepreneurial ventures or competing in regional competitions.

Last spring students from SMUMN, WSU and MSC Southeast collaborated in the Winona Student Startup competition.

To read more about the competition and the experience, visit the article in Saint Mary’s Campus Notes.