How to get away with entrepreneurship

Image: How to get away with entrepreneurship

This spring, the Trulaske College of Business rebooted its annual Business Week, and kicked off the week of workshops, presentations, and interactive sessions with “Entrepreneurship Night” supported by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The evening’s activities started with a panel discussion led by Derrick L. Christian II, an MU alum currently the Director for Marketing & Brand Innovation at the United Center in Chicago. Joining Derrick were two distinguished fellow alumni, Je!ery Beckham Jr., the CEO of Chicago Scholars and an acclaimed artist, and Brianna Arps, Chief Brand Marketing Strategist at ARPS Enterprise Solutions Group. All three added a dynamic, real-world perspective to the entrepreneurial journey.

In an avant-garde move, Derrick structured the panel as a Netflix series, “How to Get Away with Entrepreneurship.” He curated a series of entrepreneurial themes, each represented as an ‘episode.’ Students voted for the ‘episode’ they wanted to experience live. This approach provided an interactive, democratic process, transforming a conventional business panel into a lively and engaging discourse.

During one “episode,” Je!ery emphasized the importance of entrepreneurial networks, “The most important thing that I learned at Mizzou was the importance of relationships and networking. And as an entrepreneur, your network is your net worth!”

Brianna explained to students that developing an entrepreneurial mindset is vital for all businesses, “There’s a lot of entrepreneurial skill sets that you can hone while working a corporate career. When I eventually decided to venture out, it was through that experience of being a leader in exhibiting leadership and solving problems, or anticipating problems, that made me feel more comfortable to jump into being an entrepreneur while in my 9 to 5.”

After the panel/show, the students and faculty moved to an Entrepreneurship Fair in the Cornell Atrium, featuring booths set up by student entrepreneurs from across the campus. Attendees had the chance to learn about these student founders’ vision, business models, and operational tactics. Simultaneously, it was a marketplace, allowing attendees to purchase unique products or sign up for services directly from these student-run businesses. This hands-on approach helped our budding entrepreneurs gain real-world experience, test their ideas, understand their market, and hone customer interaction skills.

Entrepreneurship Night was a great success and encapsulated the spirit of the Trulaske College of Business – a spirit of unity, empowerment, and unceasing commitment to learning. Look for Season 2 of “How to Get Away with Entrepreneurship” to drop in 2024!