By: Lexie Newhouse
Representatives from the Metro Atlanta Chamber, TiE Atlanta & TYE University, Invest Atlanta, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and Kennesaw State University united September 26 for the Fall 2018 gathering of the Georgia University Entrepreneurship Initiative (GUEI). The event was hosted at the Chamber’s office in the heart of downtown Atlanta.
Paul Lopez, President of TiE Atlanta, and Sarah Hudnall, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator, shared a warm welcome and offered an overview of the initiative’s efforts to spur entrepreneurial education across the state of Georgia.
The entrepreneurial education discussion took a deeper dive with Ben Andrews, the Community Engagement Coordinator at ATDC. From Athens to Macon, Augusta, Savannah, Columbus, Alpharetta, Peachtree City, and Marietta, he shared that more and more entrepreneurial hubs are emerging across the state. “There is quality talent in Georgia,” said Andrews, sharing that new investors continue gravitating to Georgia as a result of this prolific growth among startups.
To highlight the student perspective, the event also featured a panel of student-entrepreneurs from across the state moderated by Jackie Davis, Associate Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Georgia State:
- Alanna Shuh of Store Corral represented Emory University
- Tamara Jones of Charitable Travel Group Inc. represented Georgia State University
- Cara Lin of Daeira Conservation represented Georgia Tech
- Caleb Gilbert of VeriEx Laboratories, LLC represented Kennesaw State University
- Donovan Butler, Jr. of RagCulture represented Morehouse College
- Simone Howard of Diyvy represented Spelman College
Collectively, these students offered different perspectives to approach the entrepreneurial scene on campus. The event transitioned from the student panel to three break sessions:
- Joey Ruse of Kennesaw State University facilitated a working discussion on creative ways to engage and build interests among both business and non-business students, faculty, staff, and alumni
- Rhea Perkins of Georgia Tech led the exploration on how students can create partnerships in the business community
- Jonathan Duke of Emory University encouraged attendees to consider innovative practices for fundraising both on and off campus and the monetization of ideas
Key findings from Ruse’s breakout session on student engagement included designing classroom spaces with whiteboard walls and moveable furniture, implementing software for digital engagement, and providing networking experiences outside of the classroom. The discussion also focused on engaging non-business school students, faculty, staff, and alumni by offering entrepreneurship certificate programs, interdisciplinary academic programs, minimizing program prerequisites, and framing coursework for portfolio purposes.
Perkin’s breakout session on partnership development in the business community focused on the importance of creating networking and mentorship opportunities for students. One program that was mentioned was “Students2Startups,” a program offered by Invest Atlanta that places university-level student interns with local startups to foster talent-experience connections within the business community.
Duke facilitated the fundraising discussion, ultimately highlighting the importance of connecting students with local incubators, coworking spaces, and accelerators both on and off campus. Various entrepreneurial competitions and grants were also mentioned as a viable source of funding and a mechanism for monetizing ideas. Through these three discussions, universities had the opportunity to identify the best practices for supporting entrepreneurial activity across campus and fostering collaboration across the state.
Interested in learning more about the Georgia University Entrepreneurship Initiative and other upcoming ENI events? Visit eni.gsu.edu to learn more about our efforts to educate and connect students, faculty, staff, and other university affiliates on topics relating to entrepreneurship and innovation.