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Loyola University New Orleans Center for Entrepreneurship Welcomes New Executive Director

By Loyola University on Wed, 01/27/2021 - 13:28

(New Orleans – January 22, 2021) Loyola University New Orleans College of Business welcomes Barbara “Bara” Watts as the new executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Loyola.  In this role, Watts will lead day-to-day operations of curricular enrichment programs, as well as strategic development and community outreach for the Center, a leading entrepreneurial development and teaching hub within the city.

“Nationwide, and in our city, entrepreneurs have been hit hard by the pandemic; others have launched new businesses or found new and creative opportunities for partnership, adapting long-needed advancements through communication and technology,” Watts said. “I look forward to sharing my start-up and business development experience with Loyola students and area residents to help them grow and start their businesses as we engage in economic recovery.”

Ms. Watts is an accomplished business executive, serial entrepreneur and educator with a Bachelor of Science degree from George Washington University and an M.B.A. from Babson College’s F.W. Olin School of Business, with a concentration in Social Entrepreneurship.

For the past three years, she served as Director of Entrepreneurship and the Center for Innovation and Impact at Oberlin College, where she grew a small one-month startup bootcamp and pitch program (Oberlin’s LaunchU) run by alumni into a vibrant year-round program with classes, workshops, TechStar startup weekends, an innovation speaker series, and a venture mentor program. During this period, she supported the formation of 66 companies among students, alumni and faculty through her instruction and bootcamp program.

Ms. Watts’ business and entrepreneurial expertise spans the arts, manufacturing, retail, and digital technologies. As Director at MGM/UA Home Video, she focused on distribution, retail sales and direct marketing. A program she initiated generated $10 Million for the company within one year of launch. 

Serving as Director of Worldwide Promotions at 20th Century Fox, she sold, negotiated, and managed multi-million-dollar marketing alliance deals with leading package goods, fast food, and electronics companies for properties such as The Simpsons and Home Alone. 

Later, she founded Barbara Watts and Associates (BWA) Inc., the first agency to exclusively handle entertainment alliance marketing deals in Hollywood. For seven-plus years, nearly every entertainment studio in town engaged with her company as a client. Then, she sold the company to a New York agency and joined Universal Studios as Vice President of Promotions. 

In 2001, Ms. Watts relocated to her hometown of Cleveland, where she launched a digital TV and marketing company focused on workforce development (UNCOMNtv). Under her leadership, the company received numerous regional and entrepreneurship awards and long-term clients, including Global Cleveland and RITE (Regional IT Engagement). 

Ms. Watts is currently consulting with FedTech to assist NASA, the U.S. Veterans Administration and the National Nuclear Security Administration in the commercialization of select technologies developed by these agencies.

The former industry executive and serial entrepreneur has a strong record of community involvement in the cities where she has lived; in particular, she has served in leadership roles with the JumpStart Higher Education Collaboration Council, the Lorain County Business Growth Network, Project Lead the Way, the Cleveland Housing Network, and the Boy Scouts of America, Greater Cleveland Council.