Southeast Celebrates National Entrepreneurship Week

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Feb. 9, 2009 – Southeast Missouri State University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES) and the Southeast Innovation Center will host several events in honor of National Entrepreneurship Week (NEW) Feb. 23-27, including the premier screening of a new documentary film, an entrepreneur-in-residence, and awards recognizing successful small businesses.

Southeast’s participation in National Entrepreneurship Week follows a successful series of events held on campus during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2008, when more than 1,000 students attended events and participated in activities hosted by the CES and the Innovation Center. Southeast’s array of speakers, forums, competitions and panel discussions covering a variety of entrepreneurial topics positioned it as the fourth most active university in the country during Global Entrepreneurship Week, according to unleashingideas.org.

The activities during National Entrepreneurship Week at Southeast will provide students an opportunity to learn directly from some of the country’s most successful young entrepreneurs,” said Dr. James Stapleton, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “Perhaps more than ever, today’s students need to be self-starters and possess an entrepreneurial mindset, regardless of the major they choose, the careers they pursue or what they go on to do in life. It is imperative for the future of the economy and quality of life in America that entrepreneurial individuals come from all walks of life to make the most of opportunities to create both economic and social value,” Stapleton added.

Entrepreneur-in-Residence

The CES will host Christopher Buehrle, president and chief executive officer of NARS Call Center Solutions, as an entrepreneur-in-residence on Feb. 24. Buehrle will speak to undergraduate and graduate students in entrepreneurship classes throughout the day, and serve as guest of honor at a luncheon sponsored by the Redhawks Collegiate Entrepreneurship student organization.

Buehrle created NARS, which offers financial services and business process outsourcing to national financial institutions. Headquartered in St. Louis, NARS operates two call centers in Missouri, one in suburban St. Louis and one in Cape Girardeau, as well as call centers and near shore operations in the Caribbean and Latin America.

“YES” Movie Premiere

Southeast will host the university premiere of the “YES” movie (Young Entrepreneur Society), a new documentary film about 40 of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the United States, at noon, Feb. 25, in Glenn Auditorium at Southeast’s Robert A. Dempster Hall. The film’s creator and producer, Louis Lautman, will attend the screening to share his insights and answer questions. High school students from around the region have been invited to the premier as well, and 200 DVDs of the film will be distributed to area high school teachers.

“The fact that Southeast is the first University in the United States to host a screening of this exciting new documentary film, and to hear from the producer about the amazing individuals documented, underscores the value and importance we place on providing our students opportunities to prepare for success in the new economy,” Stapleton said.

The screening will be co-sponsored by the CES and Missouri REAL Entrepreneurship, an outreach program of the CES that provides entrepreneurship curriculum, training, professional development and support services to secondary school teachers in Missouri.

SPARK Awards

The Southeast Innovation Center, the economic development arm of the University, which provides counseling, training and financial analysis for small business owners, will present “SPARK” Awards to businesses that were created or expanded through the support of the Center’s award-winning training programs, Operation Bootstrap and Operation Jump-Start.

The two entrepreneurial training programs have helped create or expand about 230 businesses and added more than 360 jobs to counties in southeast Missouri, northeastern Tennessee and southeastern Illinois, according to Gina Harper, training coordinator for the Innovation Center.  

“Small business ownership is never easy, especially in today’s economy,” Harper said. “The Innovation Center wants to acknowledge the dedication and identify the impact these owners have had in the region just because they have chosen to keep entrepreneurship alive.”

The Innovation Center will recognize the SPARK winners during National Entrepreneurship Week, Feb. 23-27.