6th Annual Event Gives Students a Taste of Entrepreneurship
The College of Business (CoB) held its sixth annual Entrepreneur Day in the Strand Union Ballrooms on the Montana State University (MSU) campus Tuesday, April 6. This free event was a part of the CoB’s on-going commitment to community service and enhancing entrepreneurial spirit and education.
The morning began with Associate Dean Susan Dana’s welcome to high school student participants from around the state—some attending from as far away as Park City and Cascade. The students were given a brief overview of the day’s events, interactive workshop, 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. All businesses were required to be “green” and related to food. 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. The students came up with many unique entrepreneurial endeavors, including edible bags and smoothie carts.
Elizabeth Mead, Jessica Fix, Tara Lindblom, Morgan Rangel and Lily Hurley, CoB students in the Alderson Entrepreneurship Program, as well as Grant Jamieson, an alumnus of the 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.
During lunch, young entrepreneur and CoB graduate, Lorie Hoffman of L.A. Hoffman Studios talked to the high school students about her experience in the entrepreneurship program and gave them advice about how to start their own businesses.
The keynote presentation took place after lunch, with guest speaker Jennifer Sipes, operation director for the nonprofit, Central Asia Institute (CAI) and CoB alumna. Sipes gave a lively presentation about the Central Asia Institute, how it was developed, its projects and her role as CAI operations director.
CAI promotes education and literacy programs in Pakistan and Afghanistan and has established or supported 131 schools and educated more than 58,000 students, including 44,000 girls.
Mortenson, the executive director, along with his team, has combined philanthropy and entrepreneurship by providing educational opportunities for thousands of students in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Sipes oversees and manages CAI’s daily operations, while Mortenson frequently travels to fundraise and manages on-site overseas operations.
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. This event was sponsored in part by Boeing. Students from any major at MSU can take Entrepreneurship coursework through the CoB’s 30 credit-hour Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management minor.
For further information about Entrepreneur Day, please contact Audrey Lee at 406-994-7026 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.