A really good day in the life of an entrepreneurship center director

February 6th, 2012 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

I had an extraordinary day last Friday.  I had the opportunity to meet with three
people who had ideas for new businesses—two students with really interesting
ideas and one highly qualified community leader leaving the corporate world to
start a consulting practice.  The opportunity to be privy to people’s dreams and aspirations is a role I don’t take lightly.  It’s a privilege to have a
front row seat when new ideas are hatching.  In each case, I was able to connect them with someone or something that will help them make the next step—a result of having lived in Springfield for 38 years, 17 years of which have been spent at Drury University.  Deep connections throughout the community through professional and volunteer work allow me to pick up the phone and set up a meeting for someone or get some advice.  It truly takes a village to hatch new businesses—and this village we call Springfield is a good place to be.  Our entrepreneurial spirit is strong, everyone roots for the home team, so to speak.  I’m feeling the shift in attitude from “when will this recession end?” to “here’s what we plan to do”.  I’m feeling like 2012 will be a good year for business in Springfield, Missouri.  As you grow your ideas or already established businesses, take advantage of the resources Springfield offers.  Attend learning and etworking opportunities and give back where you can.  We are the village that entrepreneurs need—let’s all work to make it a good one.  Have a great 2012.

All my best, Kelley Still

Drury to host the fourth annual Self-Employment in the Arts (SEA) Conference

March 9th, 2011 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 2, 2010 — Drury University will host the fourth annual Self-Employment in the Arts (SEA) OzArts Conference on Saturday, April 2 in the Trustee Science Center. The conference will focus on the business side of pursuing avisual, performing or literary arts career, as well as review fundamental skills necessary for all self-employed artists.

“This will be the fourth annual SEA OzArts Conference in Springfield, Missouri. We are so proud to be a part of this Coleman Foundation initiative, enabling us to bring the opportunity to learn from and network with seasoned professionals in the arts to our area’s budding entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Kelley Still, executive director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Drury University.

Speakers include professional visual, literary and performing artists as well as arts administrators. The morning begins with a welcome and arts funding update from State Representative Sara Lampe and moves on to breakout sessions with professionals from all of the arts disciplines, sharing their strategies for success in their fields. The conference concludes with lunch and a keynote presentation by internationally recognized artist, Gary Bowling. Bowling’s work is held in the private collections of some of the most prestigious organizations in the Midwest and as far away as Hong Kong. One-on-one sessions with various professionals will be available for those seeking further advice.

All visual artist participants are encouraged to submit a piece to the juried art show which will take place in conjunction with the conference. The juried art show will be held on Friday, April 1 in Drury’s Pool Art Center. Additionally, participants who are writers, singers and actors are invited to read or perform as a part of the show. Contact Sara Cochran at scochran@drury.edu for information about participating on Friday night.

Members of the community are invited to register for a $30 fee. Registration is open at www.drury.edu/ejc/sea. For more information contact Tammy Rogers, tammy@drury.edu, (417) 873-6357.

Contact:
Kelley Still
Executive Director, Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship
Office: (417) 873-7458
E-mail: kstill@drury.edu

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Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium offers relevant and affordable training for female entrepreneurs

January 6th, 2011 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Jan. 4, 2011 Women-owned businesses are the fastest growing economic segment in Missouri. The Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (WES) hopes to contribute to that continued growth by offering a half-day training event, specifically for women who own their own businesses or who are interested in starting one. The event is Saturday, Jan. 22, at 8 a.m., in the Trustee Science Center at Drury University hosted by the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship (EJC).

“This will be the third year for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium and it has grown each year as women are increasingly starting businesses and find it to be very helpful,” says Dr. Kelley Still, Executive Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “We have a great set of partners on this event. They are organizations that really support women entrepreneurs.”

WES will include sessions on guerilla marketing, funding, why smaller businesses can be better, feasibility, managing cash flow and successful women entrepreneurship stories. The event will also allow attendees the opportunity to network with other women entrepreneurs and vendors including bankers, accountants, marketing professionals and attorneys.  WES will, once again, include an elevator pitch competition sponsored by Penmac.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium
Saturday, January 22, 2010
8:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Trustee Science Center at Drury University
Registration:  $25

Registration begins on Tuesday, Jan. 4. For more information or to register, visit www.drury.edu/ejc/wes or contact Tammy Rogers at 417-873-6357.

Contact:
Dr. Kelley Still, Executive Director
Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship
Office: (417) 873-7458
E-mail: kstill@drury.edu

Drury to host Ecopreneurship Conference on Sat., Nov. 20

November 1st, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 1, 2010 — Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (EJC) will host an Environmental Entrepreneurship Conference on Saturday, Nov. 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Trustee Science Center. The cost is $50.

“The environment, sustainability and ‘going green’ are important topics for the 21st century. Our hope for the ecopreneurship conference is to support people that want to craft a livelihood in the new green marketplace,” says Dr. Kelley Still, executive director of the Edward Jones Center.

Sessions at the Ecopreneurship Conference will include:

• Green entrepreneur success stories – Jason Mitchell, the workshop 308 and Curtis Millsap, Millsap Farms.
• Understanding financial statements.
• Social entrepreneurship through non-profits.
• Manufacturing your green product.
• Working with your banker.
• Leveraging government incentives and opportunities – Josh Jones, Doug Neidigh, George VanHoesen.
• Business plan basics.
• Not ready to start a business? Get a green job.
• Using social media to promote your green business.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit www.drury.edu/ejc/eco .

The EJC partnered with the following Drury organizations to make the ecopreneurship conference a reality: Think Green, the Department of Environmental Studies, SIFE, the Hammons School of Architecture, and the President’s Council on Sustainability. EJC would like to thank the conference’s advisory committee: Wendy Anderson, Teresa Carroll, Josh Jones, Sarah Montgomery, Bruce Moore, Doug Neidigh and John Taylor.

The Statistics are a Puzzle, as written for the SBJ by Dr. Kelley Still

September 13th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

The statistics are a puzzle. Women-owned businesses, defined as 50% or greater ownership, account for 40% of all privately held businesses. Businesses controlled by women, defined as 51% or greater ownership, account for 28.7% of all privately held businesses. However, that 28.7% of all privately held firms account for only 4% of all revenues and 6.4% of employment.1 The growth rate in women-owned businesses indicates that women are starting new businesses at twice the rate of men. But what happens after the start-up is clearly different between genders. Plainly said, women-owned businesses do not initially grow as fast, nor become as large, as men-owned businesses. Statistics show that women start businesses with less capital than men, whether borrowed or obtained from investors. These lower levels of initial capital are associated with lower growth levels in women-owned firms.
We know it’s not for lack of ability. More than 250,000 businesses controlled by women have revenues greater than $1 million per year. And before we cry “discrimination” and assume that women have insurmountable barriers to growing their businesses, such as access to capital, we have to acknowledge that there is evidence indicating that women often have goals other than financial driving their desire to be business owners, such as company culture and work-family balance. However, this body of research has mixed results. Other studies of have shown that women business owners are actually more concerned with financial goals than male business owners. 2
Should we be worried about these statistics? You bet we should! We all want our economy back on track and start ups and privately held firms hold the keys. That’s where the action is in innovation and jobs growth. We should all deeply care that we have a business environment that encourages and supports entrepreneurship and addresses the needs of small business. And if women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men, just think of the impact on the economy if women-owned businesses grew and flourished at higher rates.
So what is really going on here? Research has shown that women arrive at innovation in a different way than men do, but the genders are equally innovative and their innovation ideas are of equal quality.3 So lenders and investors should be equally enthusiastic toward start up proposals from both genders. We know the SBA and many banks have formal initiatives encouraging access to capital for women. But there is some discouraging research that may help explain the gap we see in funding for women-owned businesses. Studies have shown that when participants are given the opportunity to describe the characteristics that an entrepreneur would possess, women describe an entrepreneur as having both male and female traits, but men describe an entrepreneur as having attributes similar only to males. The participants did not know they were doing this, the attributes are not labeled “male” or “female”.4 This research may indicate that despite formal initiatives by the government and banks, despite years of progress in the work place for women, despite all the great men out there who have actively participated in raising their kids and telling their daughters to dream big, men may inherently have a hard time seeing women as entrepreneurs. Since commercial loan officers, venture capitalists and angel investors are mostly men, the barrier to start up capital for women may be real.
We can’t change biases overnight, but we can immediately do things to improve the odds for women-owned businesses right here in southwest Missouri. The Edward Jones Center is a managing partner, along with the Chamber of Commerce and Jordan Valley Innovation Center, of the Springfield Angel Network. I can, today, begin to identify and recruit female angel investors (we currently have one out of 30). Bank presidents can, today, sit down with their management teams and create a plan to increase the number of female commercial loan officers in their organizations. Women business owners can, today, begin to build an advisory board for their business that has a mix of men and women on it. Together, we can improve the availability of capital for women-owned businesses—and that would be a blessing to us all.

1 Center for Women’s Business Research and Survey of Business Owners, Census Bureau
2 Chaganti & Parasuraman, Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, Winter, 1996
3DeTienne & Chandler, Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, May, 2007
4 Gupta, Turban, Wasti & Sikdar, Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, March, 2009

Drury to host the first annual Minority Entrepreneurship Conference

September 13th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (EJC) will host the first annual Minority Entrepreneurship Conference on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Trustee Science Center.

The conference will provide an opportunity for minority entrepreneurs to not only learn basic entrepreneurship skills, but to also hear about contracting with the government and specific funding opportunities as well as network with other entrepreneurs and professionals that can help with their businesses.

“The addition of the Minority Entrepreneurship Conference is a natural fit with our mission both at the Edward Jones Center and Drury at large,” says Dr. Kelley Still, executive director of the EJC. “Our relationships with the minority community are very important to us and have allowed us to develop meaningful programming for entrepreneurs in the community.”

The conference will highlight these keynote speakers: Alan Green, director of the office of supplier and workforce diversity for the State of Missouri and Lester Woods, external civil rights director for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Other sessions will include:

• Minority entrepreneur success stories.
• Marketing with social media
• Business plan basics.
• Understanding financial statements.
• Working with your banker.
• Social entrepreneurship through non-profits.
• Legal Aspects of Your Business

In addition to these sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to visit booths of potential business partners including bankers, accountants, insurance brokers, attorneys and marketing professionals. One-on-one sessions will also be available for those seeking further advice.

The cost of the conference is $50. For more information or to register for the conference, visit www.drury.edu/ejc/mec.

Drury’s Edward Jones Center expands its conference offerings

August 18th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (EJC) at Drury University will offer four conferences in 2010-2011. Besides the highly successful Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium and the Self-Employment in the Arts conference, this year the EJC has two new offerings: a Minority Entrepreneurship Conference and an Ecopreneurship Conference.

“Many people believe that entrepreneurship is just about starting a business. In reality, it’s about innovation,” says Dr. Kelley Still, executive director of the EJC. “Besides business startups, entrepreneurial thinking can solve societal and environmental problems, and entrepreneurs can help established companies and organizations get better. These two new conferences will add to the healthy state of entrepreneurial thinking in the Ozarks.”

Minority Entrepreneurship Conference-Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010
This conference will provide minority entrepreneurs the opportunity to not only learn basic entrepreneurship skills, but they will also learn how to contract for work with government organizations at the local, state and federal levels. Attendees will also gain knowledge of tax breaks and how to seek specific funding opportunities.

Ecopreneurship Conference-Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
This conference focuses on entrepreneurs interested in sustainable business. Besides basic entrepreneurship skills, the all-day session will include information on “green” opportunities, tax credits, rebates and economic stimulus initiatives.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (WES)-Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011
Entering its third year, this gathering of female entrepreneurs allows women to learn about the various aspects of owning their own business and provides a rich, one-day networking opportunity.

Self-Employment in the Arts-OzArts (SEA)-Saturday, April 2, 2011
Entering its fourth year, the Self-Employment in the Arts conference provides aspiring artists an opportunity to learn from other successful self-employed artists. It will also provide educational resources to help these aspiring artists gain the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills needed to establish and maintain a career as an independent artist.

For more information, contact Tammy Rogers at (417) 873-6357 or by e-mail at tammy@drury.edu.

The Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation was founded in January 2007 through contributions from Drury Board of Trustees member John Beuerlein, his wife Crystal, and Edward Jones, a St. Louis-based financial services firm. The vision of the center is to arm entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge necessary to create new, innovative ventures.

Entrepreneurs Learn How To Turn Their Dreams into a Reality

August 6th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (EJC) at Drury University is offering an opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to learn how to turn a good idea into a successful start-up. Students that complete the four class sessions will earn a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Drury’s EJC.

Each of the three-hour class sessions covers a different topic: feasibility studies, business plans, lender and investor presentations and, finally, student presentations. By the end of the series, prospective entrepreneurs should be prepared to seek funding for their endeavors.

EJC’s Executive in Residence Steve Nurnberg teaches all of the classes. Nurnberg owns and operates Bevinco of Southwest Missouri, which audits inventory and sales in bars and restaurants. Nurnberg also works with the Kingsley Group as a management consultant and business broker.

“I look forward to working with individuals looking to start their own ventures as well as owners of existing businesses hoping to grow, or secure additional funding for their companies,” says Nurnberg.

Each class is limited to 5 students to allow for one-on-one attention for each student’s proposal. The classes will be offered on the following dates:

Series 1-Wednesdays, 6-9 p.m.
Aug. 11, 18, 25 and Sept. 1

Series 2-Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon
Oct. 30, Nov. 6, 13, 20

Series 3-Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon
Jan. 29, Feb. 5, 12, 26

Series 4-Wednesdays, 6-9 p.m.
April 6, 13, 20, 27

The classes meet at the President’s House at Drury University, which is located at the corner of Benton Ave. and Calhoun Street. The cost of each series is $300. To enroll, contact Tammy Rogers at (417) 873-6357 or by e-mail at tammy@drury.edu.

The Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation was founded in January 2007 through contributions from Drury Board of Trustees member John Beuerlein, his wife Crystal, and Edward Jones, a St. Louis-based financial services firm. The vision of the center is to arm entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge necessary to create new, innovative ventures.

Self-made and Under 40: Young Entrepreneurs in Springfield

July 26th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Members of The Network gathered on July 20 to hear from local, young entrepreneurs. This event, in conjunction with the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Drury University, was held at Wellington Place and featured panelists Billy Kimmons with BK Architects, Don Harkey with Galt Consulting, Amy Ferguson with Heroes Coffee and Amy Michaels with Springfield Cares Magazine. Jeff Houghton with Community Blood Center of the Ozarks and Skinny Improv moderated the event, leading panelists to share how they got started and what their successes and failures have been along the way.

The panelists were first asked what made them decide to become an entrepreneur. Answers included “couldn’t take it anymore at work and had an itch that wouldn’t go away” and “it was always in me, I just had the desire.” The group was asked about dealing with the fear of taking the leap to start their business. All of the panelists agreed that fear will be there, but with risk comes fear and starting a business is a risk, however often with great rewards. One panelist reported that as he took that leap, he had his best night of sleep in a very long time, so he knew he had made the right decision.

When asked about local resources for starting a business, the panelists provided the following: your banker, SBTDC at MSU, Edward Jones Center at Drury, networking groups if you take the time to be there and Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. They each feel that Springfield is a great place to own a business, as it has such an entrepreneurial spirit and is a very personal community. Panelists encouraged entrepreneurs to always do what they say they are going to do and make all clients feel like they are the only one. Other items of advice that panelists encouraged: practicing humble confidence, figuring out what you don’t know, learning about accounting, learning the scope of what owning your own business is going to take and delegating.

The Network members walked away energized and ready to move forward with their entrepreneurial aspirations.