Global Entrepreneurship Week Comes to Southeast Nov. 16


gary-kellmann-arch-photoStudents at Southeast Missouri State University and members of the Southeast community will join millions of people around the world to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) with a Common Hour program hosted by the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Nov. 16 in Academic Hall Auditorium.

The program will be held from noon to 1:15 p.m. and will include guest speaker Gary Kellmann, managing partner in KDK Technology Ltd. and presentations from the finalists in this year’s Southeast Innovation Challenge.

“Having successful entrepreneur Gary Kellmann share his experiences from China with students and the public is an excellent way to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week at Southeast Missouri State University,” said Dr. Judy Wiles, director of the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship Lessons Learned in China: Valuing People and Building Relationships

Kellmann, a Southeast alumnus, will speak about his understanding of the Asian cultures, manufacturing/supply chain processes, and his winning experiences in taking new products to the marketplace that has helped his clients surpass $50 million in sales to date.

After graduating from Southeast with a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies in 1992, Kellmann’s first big hit was an invention in the Health and Beauty Aids (HBA) category where he landed repeat orders with Walmart Stores and specialty chains. He then established recognition in the novelty and beauty category with the world famous Belly Lights in 2001 (over two million sold) and in 2003 with the braidlights (over one million sold) before selling his company in 2004.

Southeast Innovation Challenge

The program also will feature presentations resulting from the inaugural Southeast Innovation Challenge which implored both undergraduate and graduate students to form multi-disciplinary teams of two to three people to research and propose an innovative program, initiative, or service to improve the student experience in a meaningful way. Each team then submitted an executive summary to be reviewed and scored by a panel of judges based on how impactful, innovative and feasible the idea was. The judges included:

  • Trent Ball, Southeast Missouri State University director of Educational Access Programs
  • Gary Kellmann, managing partner in KDK Technology Ltd., offices in St. Louis and China
  • Marla Mills, Old Town Cape executive director
  • Jakob Pallesen, Southeast Missouri State University Small Business and Technology Development Center business counselor
  • Michele Tapp, Southeast Missouri State University director of Career Services

Of the 27 participating teams, the three top-scoring teams were selected to present during the Common Hour program. The audience will vote to select a People’s Choice winner and prizes will also be awarded for first, second and third place at the end of the program.

The event is open to the public.