Entrepreneurship Alliance

Image: Bea Doheny

Can Entrepreneurs be made? 

The EA was implemented with sponsorship from David and Suzie Spence in the fall of 2011 to develop entrepreneurial students in several ways.

  • First, we wanted to nurture the passion for entrepreneurship in select students from across campus.
  • Second, build the necessary pitch skills in members to make them successful at clear and concise idea pitches.
  • Third, develop the self-confidence and tolerance for risk that is an inherent part of being a successful entrepreneur.
  • Fourth, build the EA into a support network of like-minded students.
  • Fifth, engage them in a supportive network of alumnae, stakeholders, mentors, and community members.

Most entrepreneurship programs involve coursework on business planning, product development, marketing, etc. The EA took this approach to another level based on the fact that many students finish these programs but still lacked the skills and personality traits to execute an idea. They still lacked the practical leadership skills. They lacked a tolerance for risk. They lacked self-confidence. They lacked passion. They lacked the guts.

The Entrepreneurship Alliance has developed into a 10-week program in which students learn-by-doing by creating their own small business with a cohort of students. The cohort structure provides valuable support for the students as they experience first-hand the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and figure out how to overcome challenges.

 “Starting a business – I’ve always wanted to do it but the action part, getting out there is very hard and I overcame that through this. And it’s a great feeling. I overcame that doubt and it was so good to have a plan, to work through it and defeat that self-doubt and overcome that obstacle. It gives you a lot of sense of empowerment. It was so great. I wouldn’t trade it for anything right now.” – Alex Peppard

“When you’re a student you have all of these resources - people that are willing to help you and think it’s super cool that you’re starting a business.” – Dave Goddard

“I learned a lot about myself and was able to learn a lot from the students that were on the journey with me.” – Emily Kastner

“I wish I had done this my Freshman year. This experience forced me to spend time on the nitty gritty parts. They aren’t always the fun parts. The fun part is getting the sale. But spending the time on the nitty gritty parts is important. I made money and I was able to dedicate time to my business.” – Taylor Dey

 

The EA complements the course work learned in their entrepreneurship classes by providing a hands-on opportunity to develop skills and confidence as they execute their ideas for real. Mentorship is provided by Mizzou alumni along the way. At the conclusion of the program, students are invited to apply for funding to support the development and growth of their entrepreneurial venture.

This 10-week program is run by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation housed in the Trulaske College of Business and is open to all students, regardless of College, Major, or course background. It forms part of a larger movement designed to foster entrepreneurship and innovation at MU. The movement is motivated by students who see the value in developing entrepreneurial skills and is fueled by business leaders who know that economic growth depends on innovation.

On completion of the program, students become Entrepreneurship Alliance members for life and are invited to participate in other events, activities, and programs run by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, even after graduation.

If you are interested in joining the next cohort, please contact the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Annette Kendall.