Seven Student Entrepreneurs Selected to Launch Real Life Businesses

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Dec. 12, 2006 – Seven students at Southeast Missouri State University were selected today as winners of a University-wide competition that could launch these budding entrepreneurs into real-life businesses.

The Office of the President and the Student Government Association kicked off the innovative Student Entrepreneurship Program this semester designed to cultivate aspiring student entrepreneurs through real life business experience. The Southeast Innovation Center administered the competition.

Both undergraduate and graduate students competed in the program, working throughout the fall semester to develop sustainable small businesses.

“Southeast Missouri State University prides itself on offering experiential learning and real world experience for every student in every discipline offered on this campus,” said Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “There is no better entrée into the real world than the Student Entrepreneurship Program. This innovative new program has given our students the practical experience of developing a true small business concept along with a safe and supportive environment in which to test their ideas. This program is a model for students segueing from college life into the business world.”

The winners and their areas of study are as follows:

  • Charlene Latham of Joplin, Mo., Public Relations
  • Kirk Sandfort of Perryville, Mo., Agribusiness/Master of Public Administration program
  • John Taylor of Cape Girardeau, Agribusiness/Master of Business Administration program
  • Matt Taylor of Cape Girardeau, Computer Networking
  • Tiffany Thomas of Gordonville, Mo., Mass Communications
  • Stefanie Tooley of St. Peters, Mo., Graphic Design
  • Drew Williams of Cape Girardeau, Organizational Leadership 

Eighteen proposals representing students in several colleges and departments were considered for the competition. The winners were selected by a committee that reviewed the proposals. Members of the committee were Doug Greene, a University donor and entrepreneurial advisor; Roger Tolliver, president of Commerce Bank; Bill Vickery, director of entrepreneurship at the Southeast Innovation Center; and Adam Hanna, Southeast Student Government president.

The winners will attend 12 weeks of entrepreneurial training valued at $500 that begins in mid-January and concludes at the end of April. Their training will include determining the feasibility of their ideas and constructing a solid business plan. The students will then submit their business plans into competition for start-up business funding and six months of free space in the Southeast Innovation Center Incubator. Winners of that competition will be announced in late April.