By Chris Stathopoulos – At William Jewell College students are encouraged to “live what you learn.” For the 2011-2012 academic year, the theme within the Department of Business and Leadership is “Business Creates.” Three students have heeded both of these challenges and formed an entrepreneurial society that currently meets on campus twice a month. Mark Perez and Troy Fletcher, juniors, and Rayner Fredrick, sophomore, are the founding members of the group which holds meetings in Yates-Gill 221 on Wednesday mornings at 10:15. Dr. Kelli Schutte, chair of the department, is the group’s advisor. Although the group is but three months old, the Entrepreneurial Society has already hosted some of Kansas City’s most illustrious entrepreneurs.
On November 3, Mr. Tom Bloch, former Chief Executive Officer of H&R Block, joined the Entrepreneurial Society for a roundtable discussion. Mr. Bloch talked about his tenure at H&R Block as well as his role in co-founding University Academy, a K-12 college preparatory charter public school in Kansas City where he still teaches 7th and 8th grade math. Bloch took questions from the students in attendance, including one about a possible partnership between the Entrepreneurial Society and University Academy. Mr. Bloch was very enthusiastic about this idea, and both parties are currently discussing such a collaborative effort.
Going forward, the Entrepreneurial Society is looking for opportunities to involve students in the many business educational opportunities within the Kansas City metropolitan area. Recently Perez, Fletcher, and Fredrick attended Startup Weekend, an event in which local entrepreneurs develop startup ideas from pitch to presentation in just 54 hours. The event, which was held at the Cerner Corporation Innovations Campus in Kansas City from November 11-13, was sponsored by The Kauffman Foundation, Cerner Corporation and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management, among others.
Next for the Entrepreneurial Society is the creation of a formal constitution and officer elections, which the group hopes to have completed before the end of the academic semester. To keep up-to-date on the Entrepreneurial Society’s activities, see the group’s page on Facebook.