High School Students Participate in 5th Annual Entrepreneur Day
The College of Business (CoB) held its fifth annual Entrepreneur Day in the Strand Union Ballrooms on the Montana State University (MSU) campus Thursday, March 26. This free event was a part of the CoB’s on-going community service to enhance entrepreneurial spirit and education.
The morning began with Interim Dean, Dan Moshavi’s welcome to high school student participants from around the state–some attending from as far away as Livingston and Cascade. The students were given a brief overview of the fun, interactive workshop they would be taking, as well as a crash course introduction into entrepreneurship and small business management. Split into smaller groups, the students created a small entrepreneurial business as a part of a simulation. Some of these businesses were required to be “environmentally friendly.” Assigned differing amounts of “seed capital,” the small groups had certain objectives to meet, such as assigning organizational positions, including company president and vice president. They also created and gave PowerPoint presentations about their start-up business at the end of the workshop.
Dawnette Olson, Grant Jamieson, Cory Crawford, Len Albright and Racheal Pienaar, CoB students in the Alderson Entrepreneurship Program, served as “experts” during the workshop, answering questions as the groups developed their businesses. At the end of the workshop, the students presented their ideas and the winning team received a “$25,000 check” that simulated a Small Business Association (SBA) grant for the successful launch of a small entrepreneurial business.
High school advisors were impressed with their students’ excitement and interaction in the program. Linda Cotton, the advisor from Cascade stated, “The format provided a combination of project-based, interactive learning with relative entrepreneurial instruction…perfect! My students that attended are already verbally reserving their seats for next year, and those that didn’t attend are doing the same. The MSU CoB Entrepreneur Day is definitely a day well-worth the travel time from Cascade and the day away from school.”
After the workshop, three young entrepreneurs met with the students. Sarah Greenshields talked about her businesses Genre & Mode, a company with a product line for diabetics, and The Natural Baby Company that specializes in cloth diapers, as well as other accessories and items. Cole Peterson started his own franchise with College Pro Painters, in the Bozeman area, and Jill Lennox started StuffIt, a company that makes trendy laptop bags. All three business owners are graduates of the Alderson Entrepreneur Program. They talked about their start-up businesses and some of their successes and failures. They advised students on how to start their own businesses and encouraged them to pursue their own business start-up opportunities.
The keynote presentation took place after lunch, with guest speaker Cloe Medina Erickson discussing her experiences as co-founder of Erickson Creative Group (ECG). This Livingston-based group focuses on architecture, historic preservation, photography, film and world exploration. Medina Erickson spoke to the students about finding a passion and incorporating it into an entrepreneurial venture, utilizing her own experiences as an example. ECG has collaborated with corporations, non-profits and individuals around the world, while setting a good example of social entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneur Day reflects the CoB’s and the Alderson Program in Entrepreneurship’s commitment to improve Montana’s economic development, while providing a framework for an outstanding educational experience for students. Students from any major in the University can take Entrepreneurship coursework through the CoB’s 30 credit-hour Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management minor. This event was sponsored in part by Boeing.
For further information about Entrepreneur Day, please contact Audrey Lee at 406-994-7026 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.