Jason D'Mello

Self-Made Success


Jason D’Mello, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship for the top-ranked LMU College of Business Administration since 2014, provides entrepreneurial-minded students with hands-on opportunities to innovate and the foresight to choose business start-ups with social awareness and community consciousness.

“My goal as a teacher is to help student entrepreneurs develop a greater worldview and attitude towards building a foundation that supports their future endeavors,” D’Mello, who is originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, said. “In other words, I aim to equip them with the critical thinking skills and necessary tools to take calculated risks and bring their strategic vision into actionable results.”

Thus far, one of D’Mello’s proudest contributions to the university has been a course he co-developed with LMU alumnus Ryan Nurnberger ’06, “Entrepreneurial Acquisitions.” The course teaches students about emerging and traditional transactions that occur in the marketplace, including opportunities for small business ventures to be entrepreneurial successes through mergers and acquisitions. It is offered to both undergraduate and MBA students and brings in over 20 guest speakers and business owners to participate each year.

Last year, the course advanced to the finals for the USASBE (United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship) Excellence in Pedagogical Innovation Award, which recognizes colleges and universities for innovation in entrepreneurial education at the course level. These innovations are assessed based on creativity, quality, sustainability, and impact.

“USASBE awards are tough to place in the finals, let alone win,” said Dayle Smith, dean of LMU College of Business Administration. “Our entrepreneurship program continues to gain national attention because of faculty like Jason, who are doing innovative things in and out of the classroom.”

Ranked among the top Entrepreneurship programs in the nation by The Princeton Review, Entrepreneur, and U.S. News & World Report, LMU has been offering entrepreneurship courses with {focus or emphasis} on ethics and social responsibility since 1972. LMU was one of the first universities in the U.S. to offer an entrepreneurship program.

D’Mello says that CBA specializes in developing entrepreneurial leaders through collaborative, hands-on learning experiences. He leads CBA’s Business Incubator, an innovative program that provides a select group of students with the workspace and guidance to prepare their business ventures for the real world. Student teams gain valuable advice from seasoned entrepreneurs, investors, alumni, and more. Several promising students and alumni businesses have already used the platform to launch their ventures to great success. One such venture was Liquid I.V., recently sold to Unilever for a significant profit for its founders and investors.

This summer, D’Mello will co-lead a course called “Intro to Entrepreneurship” with Darlene Fukuji, Associate Director of the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship, as part of LMU Summer Programs — a two-week pre-college experience for rising junior and senior high school students that aims to transform and enlighten.

Under the virtual guidance of D’Mello using Zoom web conferencing technology, participants will receive an introduction to the exciting world of building a business from the ground up. Students will put their newfound skills to practice in personal at-home projects and online working groups aimed at developing their business ideas and will leave the two-week program having presented their work online to entrepreneurial leaders.

“My teaching serves to push students to embrace moments of uncertainty, which is often uncomfortable,” D’Mello said. “It’s imperative for them so that they can develop a growth mindset and build confidence to take action when an opportunity is recognized and favorably evaluated.”

As for what advice he has for young, aspiring entrepreneurs?

“One needs courage to pursue entrepreneurship,” D’Mello said. “In this field, there is so much uncertainty about the future, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable and having things out of your control, but also the trust that when things happen, you will have the creativity and ingenuity to make the most out of that situation regardless.”

D’Mello earned a Ph.D.in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from LMU. Outside of academic life, D’Mello has cofounded and advised multiple technology ventures in education, music, technology and digital health and is a record producer and studio musician in Venice Beach and Louisville, Kentucky.