With so much off-shoring and outsourcing of traditional manufacturing, there’s been a major push for in-sourcing new business ideas in the name of entrepreneurship.
I’m not sure exactly when it happened but at some point in the last couple of years entrepreneurship became the measure for economic health — I guess that’s what happens when the old economic rugs get pulled out from underneath you, you start looking for new rugs and finding people that know how to make them.
If that’s how the game is played, count us in. The good news for Kent is that Kent State University cranks out thousands of potential rug makers every year — all we have to do is give them a chance to bring their ideas to life and put some business roots down in our community. And it turns out that Kent State helps with that too.
Kent State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business has announced that the fifth annual Entrepreneurship Extravaganza will be held on Thursday, Nov. 4, and Friday, Nov. 5. The event will include workshops, panel discussions and speakers, allowing attendees to learn from experienced entrepreneurs about launching and accelerating their businesses. The program is free and open to the community and to all students.
Here’s the details on the event:
“The workshops and panel discussions will follow three tracks: Inspire, Idea and Implement,” explained Julie Messing, director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation at Kent State. “The workshops and panel discussions will focus on minority and not-for-profit entrepreneurship. The first track looks at making the transition from student to entrepreneur, networking, supply chain opportunities for minorities, and does sex sell in advertising. The second track reviews such things as identifying an opportunity, does a not-for-profit make sense, protecting your idea, and social media and marketing. Finally, the third track discusses funding your business and alternatives to launching a new business.”
A highlight of Entrepreneurship Extravaganza is the Michael D. Solomon Speaker Series in Entrepreneurship, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 in the Kent Student Center Kiva. This year’s keynote speaker is André “Thunder” Thornton, president and CEO of ASW Global, a supply chain management company based in Mogadore, Ohio. Thornton is also a Cleveland baseball legend who played professional baseball for 21 years.
Thornton has more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurial ventures. He also is serving as Kent State’s first President’s Ambassador, a new program created and implemented out of the university’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The program is a vehicle for securing the services of a local, high-level person of color who will serve as a catalyst for change, promoting pluralistic understanding and mutual respect among diverse constituencies of students, staff, faculty and administrators at the university.
A reception in Room 204 of the Kent Student Center will follow Thornton’s speech.
On Nov. 5, “Lunch with an Entrepreneur” will be offered starting at noon in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. Participants also will hear from successful entrepreneurs, including Warren Anderson, Darrell McNair and Thornton, as they share their “Minority Success Stories.” Lunch is free for those that pre-register.
All participants in this year’s Entrepreneurship Extravaganza will receive a complimentary entrepreneurial took kit. Events are free and open to the public, however, registration is requested. To register or view a full schedule of events, visit www.kent.edu/academics/extrav. For more information, contact Kent State’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation at 330-672-9430 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
But wait, there’s more. Starting this year, the City of Kent and Kent State University are partnering to kick-off a new entrepreneurship initiative — the Entrepreneur in Residence program. The idea is to hire a part time person who is an entrepreneurial pro, someone who can spot good ideas and work with emerging business leaders to convert them into business opportunities. We’ve given the new project the green light and we’re currently advertising for the local business expert to run with this program.
Here’s the details of this new City/University project:
City of Kent Seeks Entrepreneur-In-Residence in Partnership with Kent State University
The City of Kent is currently seeking applicants to serve as an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) in partnership with Kent State University. The program is a collaborative effort between the City of Kent and Kent State University to provide consulting and advisory services to the business community. The City of Kent has appropriated $5,000 initiate the program and KSU will contribute a matching $5,000 in support of entrepreneurial endeavors. The broader vision is to spark economic activity for the region through encouraging entrepreneurship and related activity.
The entrepreneur-in-residence will work to engage in entrepreneurial development within the City of Kent as well as work with KSU’s entrepreneurially-oriented students. The effort is designed to enhance current student operated businesses like Bookends Café at the Kent Free Library, the Main Street Snack Shop and The Tannery (integrated marking communications), just to name a few. The person will connect local entrepreneurs to resources at Kent State University. He or she will provide consulting and advisory services to individuals and firms as well as work with high school students to encourage young entrepreneurs.
The person to be hired must have experience as a successful entrepreneur, be able to set aside time to serve between September through May and have a personality conducive to working with students. He or she must be a resident of Kent and an advocate of entrepreneurship curriculum and education.
Selection of the EIR will be made jointly by the City of Kent and Kent State University. The EIR will be required to be on campus one day per week to exchange ideas with other EIR’s, be a director for operating KSU student businesses, be a class presenter to curriculum majors in entrepreneurship and serve as judge/panelists for business plan conferences for regional high school competitions at KSU. It is also expected an average of eight hours a week in the Kent community. The City and KSU will jointly evaluate the effectiveness of the EIR on a regular basis.
Persons having an interest in the position should contact Dan Smith, Economic Development Director for the City of Kent via e-mail at email@example.com.