Entrepreneur Greg Ross-Munro: Center Was a Life Changer
Editor's note: In November, Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review ranked the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of South Florida's Muma College of Business No. 10 among entrepreneurship graduate programs in the United States. The reviewers said the program was the best in the Southeast and named USF as the only university in Florida to make the Top 25. It also was the 10th year in a row the center has been on the list. In recognition of the honor, 10 graduate-entrepreneurs were interviewed and profiled. This is one of them:
Greg Ross-Munro delights in good Scotch whisky and suffers from a dark sense of humor. He has an incomprehensible patience with beautiful-but-temperamental British sports cars.
The founder and CEO of Sourcetoad Development Studios who grew up in Africa and has worked in such exotic places as Japan, Ross-Munro is a new-age entrepreneur who sold his first tech company when he was 24.
His current project, Sourcetoad, is a custom enterprise software engineering firm with offices in the United States and Perth, Australia. The company's team of developers has built applications and games for clients like Viking Cruises, Jackson Hewitt, Procter and Gamble, Luxottica, the U.S. Special Forces and dozens of startups. It also crates desktop applications, kiosk software and smart TV systems.
"I'm a third generation programmer," the 36-year-old entrepreneur said, "something that is pretty weird, but useful."
He's also a product of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the University of South Florida's Muma College of Business.
The center recently was ranked No. 10 in the U.S. for graduate entrepreneurship programs and was named the best program in the Southeast by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review. The center also won USF World's Global Achievement Award for extending USF's global footprint.
Ross-Munro recalled when the center's director, Michael Fountain, came into his MBA orientation class and asked who had started a business. The seemingly simple questions changed the course of his career.
"I owned a small, not particularly successful newspaper at the time," Ross-Munro said, "so I stuck my hand up with a few other people. That was a life-changing hand raise."
Fountain sparked his interested and he enrolled in the entrepreneurship course of study.
"The program has opened so many doors for me that I'm not surprised it has been ranked so highly," he said. "I learned a huge amount; and I was exposed to inspirational people who have become mentors, partners and investors and I've formed life-long friendships. I even met my wife there."
Now, he's in charge of a firm that has grown from one employee – him – to 27.
"These days we are the ones doing the investing," he said. "We're building the technology for many of the startups in this area and putting in real cash. I would never have thought that a class on term sheets would actually be useful, but I use that knowledge almost every day now."
He said the center opened his eyes to the deeper aspects of entrepreneurship, not just the day-to-day stuff, or the emotional rollercoaster of having to learn things on the fly.
"It jump-starts your deep knowledge of the academic side," he said. "I mean, the tools that exist to make better decisions, the regulatory hurdles of business, the management techniques and the funding nuances. These are the kinds of lessons you otherwise would learn on your own through extremely expensive trial and error.
"And lawyers," he said. "Nobody wants to learn lessons because of lawyers."