Southeast Students Take Part in First Global Entrepreneurship Week

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Nov. 3, 2008 – Students at Southeast Missouri State University will join millions of young people around the world for the first Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov. 17-23.

“The 21st Century will belong to innovators who can turn ideas into action,” said Dr. James Stapleton, director of Southeast’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the regional director of the event. “This applies more than ever to today’s students, who 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.”

Global Entrepreneurship Week was created by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in the United States and the Make Your Mark campaign in the United Kingdom, building on the phenomenal success of similar initiatives by organizations in their respective countries in 2007, according to Stapleton. More than 70 countries have plans to participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week this November. Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson also has signed a proclamation declaring Nov. 17-21 as Global Entrepreneurship Week in Cape Girardeau.

While it may be global in scope, the week is a local initiative that reflects the needs, desires, customs and entrepreneurial culture of each community, Stapleton said.

“Today, entrepreneurial individuals come from all walks of life to exploit business opportunities for both economic and social gains,” he said. “The activities during Global Entrepreneurship Week at Southeast will connect students on campus to explore their potential as self-starters and innovators, engage inspirational entrepreneurs to encourage, coach and mentor the next generation of talent as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, impart the message to students and the community that entrepreneurship is central to the region’s and nation’s economic health, and to inspire young people to recognize the value of entrepreneurial behavior in their lives and to get started by taking action in their local and global communities,” Stapleton said.

“The goal of the week at Southeast is to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity; to think big; to turn their ideas into reality; to make their mark,” he added.

Southeast’s Global Entrepreneurship Week includes a series of events that will engage students in various dimensions of entrepreneurship, including segments focusing on getting started in entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship in agriculture, global entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship in the arts, the dedication of Southeast’s Start-Up Café, and an Imagine It! Innovation Challenge for students.

Imagine It! challenges student teams to create value from an assigned, everyday item announced at the opening ceremony on Nov. 17. Teams have four days to create as much “value” as possible from the object, with the winning ideas being showcased at the closing event of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Keynote speakers will include opening speaker J. Kim Tucci, who co-founded The Pasta House Co. restaurant chain more than 30 years ago. Today, the restaurant is the largest locally owned restaurant chain in Missouri. Tucci also helped found the Caring and Sharing Program, a charitable foundation that helps St. Louis families in need and has been named one of the Top 100 Business Leaders in the St. Louis region by the St. Louis Business Journal.

Don Steen, director of agriculture for the State of Missouri, will speak during the agriculture segment, “Growing Entrepreneurs,” on Nov. 18. Steen has served six years on the University of Missouri Agriculture Board, and his family also has been in the agriculture business for more than 35 years.

Dr. Kevin Woelfel, the self-proclaimed Trumpetreneur, will present “Entrepreneurship in the Arts” on Nov. 19. Woelfel is the director of the Lionel Hampton School of Music at the University of Idaho, and has previously served as director of the Entrepreneurship Center for Music at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His music industry experience includes performance, composition and manufacturing.

A panel of speakers, including Gary Downing, president and chief executive officer of Lansinoh Labs; Doug Greene, retired president of Skytech Industries; and Dennis Payne, retired president and chief executive officer of AT&T Advertising and Publishing; will present “Global Entrepreneurship” on Nov. 20. Following the panel discussion, Greene will present the inaugural Douglas C. Greene Award of Excellence in Entrepreneurialism, a scholarship that will be presented annually to a Southeast student in recognition of accomplishments in entrepreneurialism.

Global Entrepreneurship Week’s wrap-up event on Nov. 21 will include the dedication of Southeast’s Start-Up Café, a new place that provides students physical and virtual spaces to meet, think and socialize with other future entrepreneurs around the world, according to Stapleton.

“The concept of the Start-Up Café was invented by two university faculty in Switzerland and is being adopted by a number of member schools of the International Network of Innovative Business Schools,” Stapleton said. “Southeast was invited to become the first Start-Up Café site in the United States because of our reputation for quality international business programs. The Start-Up Café network spans the globe, providing students with opportunities to collaborate with international colleagues, students or other members of the entrepreneurship community,” he added.

Winners of the Imagine It! Innovation Challenge also will be announced during the week’s wrap-up event.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week at Southeast is sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, along with Southeast’s College of Liberal Arts, Donald L. Harrison College of Business and Student Government. Supporters include the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, KFVS-12, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Research Corporation, Redhawk’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, School of Polytechnic Studies, Southeast Missouri State University Innovation Center and the University of Missouri Extension.

For more information about Global Entrepreneurship Week, contact Stapleton at (573) 651-2010 or jstapleton@semo.edu.