Sparking the ingenuity of budding Midstate entrepreneurs is the goal of the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration at Middle Tennessee State University.
The Nov. 15-22 event will feature a series of guest speakers coming to campus to share expertise on topics ranging from how to glean commercial ideas from research to pursuing entrepreneurship following a corporate career.
Hosted by the Jones College of Business and the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, all activities are free and open to the public. The event is being held in conjunction with the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international celebration of innovators and job creators held each November.
Dr. Patrick Geho, state executive director of MTSU-Tennessee Small Business Development Center, encourages students from across the campus and anyone in the surrounding community interested in starting their own business to attend the week’s events.
“The purpose is to let everybody know that anybody can be an entrepreneur. You’re not born that way. It’s a state of mind and has to be cultivated,” he said. “We’re trying to get these students and others in the community to think entrepreneurial regardless of their discipline.”
While the lineup of expert speakers and panels will mostly take place on campus, the public is also encouraged to attend a kickoff event from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce on Medical Center Parkway, where TSBDC offices are located.
The TSBDC offers expert counseling, training and database resources and professional referrals to small business owners and prospective owners at offices throughout the state, at no cost to its clients, Geho said.
“The kickoff is designed to highlight the resources available in Middle Tennessee,” said Rachel Wilson, an MTSU professor of entrepreneurship and a panelist for one of the week’s sessions. “I believe that there are students and folks out in the community that have entrepreneurial thoughts and ideas, but they don’t act on them.
“We want to get these concepts on how to be more entrepreneurial out to the average person or average student, who is not a business student or business owner,” Wilson added. “We want to help show them how to transform that idea into an actual enterprise.”
Featured speakers and events for the week include:
• Friday, Nov. 15, deadline for full-time MTSU students to register for the Student Business Idea Competition. Sponsored by the Wright Travel Chair in Entrepreneurship, the competition offers $2,500 in cash prizes. Students may register and learn details at www.mtsu.edu/businessidea.
• 2 to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, in the Business and Aerospace Building, Room S336: “Commercializing Ideas from Research at the University of Memphis” by Dr. Kevin P. Boggs, assistant vice president of tech transfer, University of Memphis.
• 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, in the College of Education Building, Room 145: “Living the American Dream” by Dr. R. Wilburn Clouse, MTSU visiting professor, founder and president of The Clouse-Elrod Foundation Inc., and professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University; and Arthur R. “Butch” Hutcherson, founder and partner of Sumner Point TN LLC, Sumner 2000 LLC, Arcadia Holdings LLC, and Music City USA Inc.
• 2 to 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 18, at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Building, 3050 Medical Center Parkway: Global Entrepreneurship Week kickoff event with informational tables, networking and refreshments.
Includes Q-and-A panel, “Resources for Entrepreneurs in Middle Tennessee,” featuring Geho; Dr. Jim Stefansic, Launch TN; Jack Sisk, Southern Middle Tennessee Entrepreneur Center; and Mary Sedrick, Women’s Business Center at Brightbridge.
• 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the MTSU Student Union, Room 224: “Winemaking and International Entrepreneurship — Study Abroad: Argentina” by Dr. Tony Johnston, MTSU associate professor of food science and agribusiness and an enology consultant; and Dr. Rachel Wilson, MTSU associate professor of entrepreneurship.
• 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22: MTSU Business Idea Competition finalist presentations (open only to finalists). Judging panel: Geho; Dr. John Mullane, professor; and Ralph Williams, instructor, MTSU.
• 1 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at the Business and Aerospace Building, State Farm Room 102: “Entrepreneurship After a Corporate Career” by Elliott Wahle, former president of Babies “R” Us; chairman and CEO of Rykom Enterprises; former chairman and CEO of Rustique Home Furnishings; and founder and CEO of Generation Capital Inc.
A printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14 and visitor parking passes are available at the Parking Services Building off East Main Street.
— Jimmy Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org)