Robert J. Trulaske Sr., College of Business, University of Missouri

Entrepreneurship Alliance receives additional gift

At the inaugural year-end banquet, Dave Spence was moved to a public declaration - he would provide an additional gift to the Trulaske College of Business to ensure the Entrepreneurship Alliance would continue to prepare students for success in innovation. The banquet was a celebration of the Entrepreneurship Alliance as the program's first year comes to a close.

In 2010, Spence founded the Entrepreneurship Alliance at the University of Missouri with his initial gift of $120,000 per year for two years. Housed in the Trulaske College of Business, the Entrepreneurship Alliance enhances an interdisciplinary entrepreneurship minor for students who demonstrate a high potential for new business development. Designed to foster a culture of innovation at MU, the Entrepreneurship Alliance is motivated by students from across campus who see the value in entrepreneurship and is fueled by business leaders who know that growth during a down economy depends on startups.

Entrepreneurship Alliance members explore personal opportunities in various areas of business startups, franchises, and family run businesses. The Alliance engages in experiences that develop entrepreneurial traits and characteristics such as a passion for business, tenacity despite failure, self-determination, management of risk, self-confidence, creativity, initiative, and detail orientation.

Though still in its first year, Mr. Spence pledged at the year-end banquet last week to continue his commitment to the Entrepreneurship Alliance by committing an additional $120,000 for year three of the project. He said, "The whole purpose of the Entrepreneurship Alliance is to develop young talent to aid in economic development, creating jobs in our state. Providing young people with real-world experiences helps to get them thinking about starting or owning their own business and creating those jobs. Plus, the exciting results of their successes and the enthusiasm of the students is inspiring; it makes a person want to pledge support. We are honored to support this initiative as we are committed to entrepreneurship."

In a speech to attendees, Joan Gabel, Dean of the Trulaske College of Business, noted the long list of startups created by students of the Entrepreneurship Alliance, including Ben Seidel's "Igniting Business," designed to help businesses grow; Zach Hockett's "i-Patch-it," an iPhone repair service; and Jessica Cui's award-winning, adjustable-height ladies shoe. She noted, "The Trulaske College of Business and the University of Missouri want to be partners in preparing students for their own success and to be contributors to Missouri's economic development. That's one of the main drivers behind the investment in programs like the Entrepreneurship Alliance. We sincerely thank Dave for his continued and generous support."