Mark Ain, the founder and retired CEO of Kronos Incorporated, has pledged $2 million to Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) to create the Ain Technology and Design Hub within the Daveler & Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship. Ain praised FGCU’s entrepreneurship school, stating that they integrate practical experiences with the course offerings.
Ain’s belief in the curriculum and how well it prepares graduates for success inspired his generous pledge. The Ain Technology and Design Hub will undoubtedly contribute to the growth of FGCU’s programming, according to Sandra Kauanui, the school’s founding director.
“We will purchase equipment and computers and hire paid interns from digital media design and entrepreneurship fields to work in the Ain Technology and Design Hub.
Our services will be available to the community, associations, and anyone who wants to upgrade their website or design a new logo,” said Sandra Kauanui, the founding director of the Daveler & Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship at Florida Gulf Coast University. She added that student interns will be mentored as they work with local businesses, and all profits will go back to the scholarship fund.
This initiative benefits both students and the community, as students will gain real-life experiences and make money for themselves and the scholarship funds. Ain was pleased with the plan and acknowledged the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine’s ranking of FGCU’s undergraduate entrepreneurship program as 15th in the top 50 undergraduate entrepreneurial programs nationwide for 2023, the highest in Florida.
Mark Ain’s investment of $2 million in Florida Gulf Coast University’s entrepreneurship school will help sustain the school’s growth trajectory. The school had 537 students enrolled in the program one year prior to fall 2022, but that number had risen to 778 students by fall 2022. According to Sandra Kauanui, the school’s founding director, entrepreneurship students and alumni have started over 374 businesses, raised $10.8 million in venture capital, and earned more than $111 million in total gross revenue in the past six years.
Ain believes that the entrepreneurial drive in America reflects the national ethos of an open society and culture. Choosing the entrepreneurial path is rooted in a person’s internal drive to succeed, which is often inspired by a friend or family member.
In Ain’s case, his grandmother emigrated to America at 17 to join her husband-to-be, who had emigrated several years earlier, secured a job, sent for her, and proposed. She told him she would not marry him until he owned his company. The couple married and launched what became a successful real estate business. Ain never forgot that story as he pursued his entrepreneurial path, which was fueled by his grandmother’s drive to succeed and his own.
Entrepreneurs who succeed are those who recognize a need and work to meet it. In 1977, when Ain founded Kronos, time clocks in the workplace had not evolved much since the late 1800s. Ain saw the need to bring them into the 20th century, and his patented microprocessor-based time clock propelled Kronos to become a global company. Today, Kronos provides human resource, payroll, and workforce management solutions to guide clients toward better business outcomes, connected workforces, and happier employees.
Ain’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to involve and invest in “people who are really interested in your idea and able to advise and help you achieve your goals.”