Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship

Event gives business women a welcoming space to learn, network

Research shows that women start businesses in greater numbers than men, yet they typically don’t grow their businesses to the same extent as men do over time.

There are many reasons for this, says Dr. Kelley Still, director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Drury. But one important factor, according to research, is that the business world remains a primarily male-oriented arena.

While the Ozarks is rich with business networking opportunities, few focus on women. Connecting and empowering female business owners is the sole purpose of the Edward Jones Center’s annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, now in its seventh year. The 2015 event will be held from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 21 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

“There are a lot of really great opportunities in town to get technical training about business plans or how to keep your books,” Still says. “We really focus on hearing from other women entrepreneurs who can share how they’ve solved problems and moved their business forward.”

In such an environment, women are more apt to speak up, ask questions, and discuss both good and bad experiences.

“There’s a feeling of camaraderie,” says Claire Faucett, owner of social media marketing company engage5w, and a panelist for this year’s event. “If you’re a woman in business you subconsciously put up a wall at times, and I think you allow yourself sort of take the wall down when you’re around other women.”

The keynote speaker is Catherine Johns, a Chicago radio personality who’s climbed ladder in the broadcasting industry and now speaks to women about reaching for new heights in their careers. Panels will examine topics such as owning a business with your spouse, mixing business and friendship, social media and more. Participants can even schedule one-on-one time with subject matter experts like CPAs and attorneys. And despite the focus, men are welcome, too.

The day caps off with awards honors the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year.

Cost is $25 for the general public, which includes breakfast and lunch. Registration remains open until the day of the event. For more information call 873-6357 or visit Drury.edu/ejc/wes.

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium will be held March 21

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Feb. 26, 2015 – Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship will hold its seventh annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (WES) from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, March 21. WES provides women entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn about the various aspects of owning a business, network with other entrepreneurs and visit with a wide range of exhibitors. The theme of this year’s symposium is “7 Years of Empowering and Celebrating Women Innovators.”

The event is $25 for the general public, which includes breakfast and lunch. Registration remains open until the day of the event. Register online at www.drury.edu/ejc/wes. WES will take place at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on the DU campus.

For the third year, WES will award honors to some of the area’s top female entrepreneurs in the following categories:

  • Women Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year

The award winners remain a secret until the symposium luncheon at noon. The media are invited to attend the ceremony. To qualify for an award, a woman must own at least 50 percent of a business and operate within 30 miles of Springfield. The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year nominees must have been in business for at least five years, and the Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year nominees should have been in business for less than two years.

The keynote speaker this year is Catherine Johns, long-time Chicago radio personality who broke out of the broadcasting industry “boys’ club.” Now she works with women who are ready to reach for new heights in their business – and their life. Panels will examine topics such as owning a business with your spouse, mixing business and friendship, the current social media landscape and more.

Catherine Johns

Catherine Johns

Speakers and panelists will include Joan and Gary Whitaker, 417 Magazine; Hannah and Paul Catlett, Studio 417 Salon, 417 Blow Dry Bar and Hudson Hawk Barber & Shop; Jennifer and Brad Feurbacher, Brown Derby International Wine Center and Derby Deli; Claire Faucett, owner of engage5w; Molly Riddle, Project Manager for Mostly Serious; Rita Baron, Developer and Principal of Baron Design & Associates, LLC; and Terry Reynolds, owner, partner and manager of the C. Arch Bay Company.

For more information about the event visit www.drury.edu/ejc/wes, or contact Dr. Kelley Still, Executive Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, at (417) 873-7458 or kstill@drury.edu.

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Alum’s tech company makes holiday shopping a little easier

An up-and-coming technology company co-founded by 2001 Drury alumnus Nathan Pettyjohn is making holiday shopping a little easier for many this year.

Aisle411 is an in-store mobile marketing platform that allows shoppers to search and navigate products and offers within a store. It also helps retailers and brands by decreasing the number of store walkouts by frustrated customers who cannot find the product they are looking for. Pettyjohn says that retailers can lose a substantial amount of sales from these walkouts.

“The light bulb moment came when I was in a home improvement store — I was looking for a surge protector — and 3 associates sent me in 3 different directions,” Pettyjohn said. “I became so frustrated at the wasted time and thought, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if I could create Google Maps in retail stores?’”

Aisle411 received early support from the Springfield Angel Network through the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Drury University, as well as other angel investor groups. Since its 2008 founding, the company has raised more than $10 million in venture capital. Toys ‘R’ Us and Walgreens are two of the retailers currently working with aisle411.

Pettyjohn said he has had an “entrepreneurial buzz” since he was a kid, and even had his own lawn mowing business when he was a teenager. His college professors also encouraged creativity and innovative thinking.

“My professors always said that you need to think about the next wave of marketing—it’s all going to change,” Pettyjohn said. “My background and education played a critical role in molding me into this thinking.”

The future of aisle411 looks bright. A growth plan is in place for the company to expand globally and use more retail analytics about shopper location, which will allow retailers to understand aisle traffic and establish the value on every shelf.

“The vision is to create this whole new, in-store media network,” said Pettyjohn.

Pettyjohn, who was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award in October, credits his three years on Drury’s AD Team to helping him assess real world problems and find creative solutions with marketing.

“Starting this company has been really fun,” said Pettyjohn. “Drury definitely played a role in my success now.”

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Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, a senior English and writing major at Drury. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. 

From Trash to Treasure: panel will highlight economic value of waste

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 24, 2014 — The 5th Annual Ecopreneurship Panel will be held at Drury on Wednesday, Oct. 29.

Co-sponsored by the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and the Environmental Sciences Department at Drury, the annual event spotlights trends in the job market and global community. This year’s theme is “From Trash to Treasure” and features speakers Dr. Don Rollins and Luke Westerman. The two entrepreneurs will describe joining the green economy with businesses that use waste to create value.

The program will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Oct. 29, at Reed Auditorium in the Trustee Science Center. The Center is located on Drury Lane just north of Chestnut Expressway. Check-in begins at 5 p.m. Food and refreshments will be available.

Registration is FREE for Drury students, and $15 for the public. Register by email at tammy@drury.edu, or call (417) 873-6357 for more information.

About the panelists

Dr. Don Rollins’ career as a veterinarian began in Mountain Grove. He relocated to Springfield in 1976 and assumed the position of Technical Veterinary Advisor to the milk marketing cooperative Mid-American Dairymen, Inc. From 1995 to 2009, he owned and operated Animal Health and Nutrition Services, LLC, providing large dairies and feedlots with field research and the development of value-added products using recovered resources from manufacturing byproducts and food processing plants. He retired in 2009. Dr. Rollins is a member of Drury’s Breech School of Business Administration Advisory Board.

Luke Westerman is the co-owner and general manager of Computer Recycling Center in Springfield. The Center is committed to providing a secure, responsible way for businesses and individuals to dispose of and recycle their unwanted electronic devices, appliances and universal waste. Luke and his team have improved the processes and expanded services at Computer Recycling Center, where 99 percent of the materials brought in are recycled. Luke earned a BA in Physics and an MBA from Drury University. He worked at Springfield Remanufacturing Corp. in a variety of positions, eventually becoming Director of Quality Assurance. Luke is active in the Springfield community, serving on the United Way, Rotary and other boards of directors.

Media Contact: Dr. Kelley Still, Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, (417) 873-7458 or kstill@drury.edu.

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Winners named in annual Startup Drury business plan competition

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 7, 2014 — Following weeks of hard work, the winners of the “Startup Drury” competition were recently chosen. The competition is sponsored by Drury’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and is open to students of all majors who think they may have “the next big idea.”

Ten teams made live pitches before the judges in April, following five weeks of working together to form an idea for a business and create a business plan. Teams could have one or more members and each team was assigned a mentor from the community. The mentors met with their teams in person or electronically throughout the process.

The winners were:

Overall winner  – Teleigh Martinez, for “Elektro Sustainable Dance Club;” $1,000 prize

Runner-up – Ali Barnes, Isaac Weber, Grant Brallier and Josh Avers, for “Yoga U;” $500 prize

Honorable mention – Melissa Buckner and Jake Jobes, for “Audio Vortex;” $250 prize

Broadest Appeal – Audio Vortex. This project will have the opportunity to raise capital via CrowdIt, the Springfield-based crowd funding website.

Best Green Business Model – Elektro Sustainable Dance Club

Best Social Business Model – Cody Stepp, Dakoda Trithara, Albeejohn Hummel and Rudy Daus for “EcoFin.” This project will represent Drury in the Barrentine Value and Ventures Business Plan Competition at Texas Christian University in 2015.

Judges for the competition were Rob Wheeler, owner of Marbeck Appliance Parts; Christine Daues, owner of Granolove; Jason Graf, founder of CrowdIt; Kailey York, partner at Clayton, York & Hopp, CPAs; and retired entrepreneur Leon Combs.

The presenting sponsor was Marbeck Appliance Parts. CrowdIt, Engineered Packaging and Chuck Banta were supporting sponsors.

Team mentors included Steve Nurnberg, Chris Jarratt, Chuck Banta, Hallie Sale, Terri Thornton, Brad Moulder, Lyle Foster, Loa Freeman, Jim Conley, Paula Adams, Terry Reynolds, Brenda Jackson, Sara Cochran and Katie Henderson

For more information, contact: Dr. Kelley Still, Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, (417) 873-7458 or kstill@drury.edu.

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Physics Major Has Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Bag

Physics major Ebenezer Obasiolu never knew he had an entrepreneurial passion until he came to Drury and began pursuing an entrepreneurship minor. It was in these classes where he gained the knowledge and support to officially launch his business, O’Bazzië Classics.

Obasiolu, also known as EB, was motivated to start his business after his grandmother died in 2012.

“I was 12 years old when I left Nigeria, and that’s the last time I saw her,” said Obasiolu. “She had cancer and my family wasn’t able to fly her here for treatment, and I wasn’t able to go there to visit her before she died. After that, I thought, ‘What can I do right now to make sure that I can travel and make money?’”

ObazzieClassics

Obasiolu says he likes to “dress nice” and has always had a love for fashion. His first product reflects that — he has created an all-purpose, leather satchel that both men and women can use for causal or business activities. These hand-made bags are made in the U.S., come in a variety of colors, and come in three different sizes to fit books, a laptop, tablet, and other items.

Obasiolu said it took him about 8 months to perfect his design. He asked many of his friends for their opinions, made changes, and then sent his design to a factory for production.

“I have about 29 designs that no one has seen,” he said. “I’m a huge perfectionist and I wouldn’t make something that I wouldn’t wear.”

O’Bazzië Classics is preparing to launch a website this spring as part of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship’s “StartUp Drury” Business Model Competition.

Obasiolu currently has an 8-person team working for him, helping him to manage social media, sales and marketing. Three members of the team attend Drury. Obasiolu has already created 46-page marketing plan and an 80-page business model. He is also planning to tour the West Coast this summer to Vancouver, Los Angeles, Portland and even Brazil for marketing and sales events.

Although Obasiolu wants to make a profit, he also has a philanthropic mission with his company. For every bag sold, O’Bazzië Classics will send a bag filled with school supplies to a child in Africa. O’Bazzië classics also plans to collaborate with an international humanitarian organization in the future. The idea of using O’Bazzië Classics to solve a social problem came out of taking a class called “Social Problems/Entrepreneurial Answers” with former instructor Kay Osborne.

“I will always be thankful to her,” Obasiolu said of Osborne. “That’s where I really realized my entrepreneurial potential.”

By next year, Obasiolu hope to sell at least 10,000 bags. You can currently view the products from O’Bazzië Classics on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To purchase the products, customers can email obazzieclassics@gmail.com or message one of the company’s social media outlets.

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Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and writing major at Drury. A version of this story first ran in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Self Employment in the Arts Conference to be held Saturday, April 5

Aspiring artists, musicians, writers and actors cannot afford to miss the 7th Annual Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Conference Saturday, April 5, at Drury University. The conference will be held in the Trustee Science Center on the university campus, and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with lunch and breakfast provided.

The purpose of the SEA Conference is to help students and emerging artists gain insightful information drawn from the experience of other artists that have been successful in their field.

Each year, the SEA Conference aims to bring in new and exciting speakers relevant to the interests and disciplines of attendees.

This year’s conference will feature a plethora of speakers from nearly every field in the art world, and will also offer students the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with professional artists.

The two featured keynote speakers are James Osmond and Anne Roderique-JonesOsmond is a singer, actor, and businessman who has been involved in the arts for almost 40 years. He is currently president of Osmond Entertainment, and has experience in nearly every aspect of the music business. Roderique-Jones is a well-known journalist who has written for more than 15 publications, and has been nationally syndicated on AOL, Yahoo, and MSN.

Additional speakers include:

●  Gary Bedell – Area artist
●  Peter Bezemes – Casting and talent agency owner
●  Cody Collier – Actor
●  Mark Oehler – Potter and gallery owner
●  Ric Furman – Opera singer
●  Jan Hyde – Owner of Hyde Gallery
●  Kelly Knauer – Editor for Time, Inc.
●  Susan LaBarr – Composer
●  Kay Osborne – Bookkeeping
●  Reed Waddle – Singer/songwriter

The cost to attend the SEA conference is $30 per person. However, it is free for all students with a valid student I.D., thanks to support from Drury Student Advocates for the Arts and the Drury Student Government Association.

For more information about the SEA conference, visit the website at www.drury.edu/ejc/sea, send an email to EJC@drury.edu, or call (417) 873-6357.

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“Ecopreneurship” Event Highlights Career Choices in Sustainability

Local high school and college students are encouraged to learn about the expanding and increasingly important field of environmental sustainability at the 4th Annual Ecopreneurship Panel and Career Fair Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Drury University.

The free event begins with a career fair from 4-6 p.m. at the Trustee Science Center. Students can visit with representatives from more than a dozen not-for-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies about volunteer, internship and job opportunities, and explore various ways that an environmental education can lead to various careers.

Appetizers from Metro Farmer restaurant and pizza will be provided starting at 5:30 p.m. Wendy Anderson, Environmental Science Professor at Drury, will offer opening remarks at 6 p.m., followed by panel presentations and a discussion with Barbara Lucks and Daniela Liscio. Lucks is the Sustainability Officer for the City of Springfield. Liscio is a former attorney who changed careers and began a nutritional consulting business called Eat for Sport.

Co-sponsored by the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and the Environmental Sciences Department at Drury, the annual event spotlights the nexus of a several trends in the job market and global community.

“Most of the innovations needed to solve our most pressing environmental problems will emerge from people with the interdisciplinary skill sets,” Anderson says. “Environmental education at Drury is deeply interdisciplinary and committed to community engagement. We ensure that our students develop critical thinking skills based on broad understandings of ethics, economics, management, politics, laws, psychology, and the natural sciences.”

Employers are increasingly adding positions that focus on sustainability to their staffs, says Kelley Still, Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship.

“Yet even with the increased corporate opportunities, some students will find it necessary to start their own businesses to have the impact they desire,” Still says. “That’s the reason we hold this joint venture between Environmental Sciences and the Edward Jones Center. We want to empower them to choose that path.”

For more information, contact: Kelley Still, Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, at (417) 873-7458 or kstill@drury.edu; or Wendy Anderson, Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, at (417) 873-7445 or wanderso@drury.edu.

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Area Businesswomen Honored at Annual Entrepreneurship Event

Two outstanding women business owners were honored today at the 6th Annual Women in Entrepreneurship Symposium. Winners were announced the conference’s closing luncheon.

Hurts Donut Co., co-owned by Kas Clegg, was chosen as the Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year. Clegg co-owns the business with her husband, Tim. Located at 301 Park Central West, the shop opened in November and builds on recent boutique pastry trends.

Other nominees included: Fleur (Lisa Clary & Kim Wood); Behavioral Learning Center, LLC (Ginger Crabtree); School of Rock (Jennifer Jester); and Bodacious Cases, LLC (Arianna Russell).

Jennifer Wilson, founder and principle architect at nForm Architecture, was chosen Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. Exceptional client service and environmentally responsible design are the cornerstones of the firm, which opened in 2007 and is located in downtown Springfield. Jennifer is a native of Springfield. She obtained her architecture degree from the University of Arkansas. She is licensed in Missouri and is a LEED-AP.

Other nominees included: Deborah Bellotti & Candice Carson (The Buzz restaurant) and Jennifer Choi (Rose Diamonds Custom Design & Repair).

To qualify for an award, a woman must own at least 50 percent of a business and operate within 30 miles of Springfield. The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year nominees must have been in business for at least five years, and the Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year nominees should have been in business for less than two years.

“We’re thrilled to highlight all of our nominees and show that women in our area have a strong and successful entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dr. Kelley Still, director of Drury’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, or EJC.

The EJC hosts WES in order to provide women entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn about the various aspects of owning a business, network with other entrepreneurs and visit with a wide range of exhibitors. This year more than 150 people attended the half-day symposium.

6th Annual Drury Women’s Symposium to honor top female entrepreneurs

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 5, 2013 — Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship will recognize the top female entrepreneurs in the region during its sixth annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (WES) to be held at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on Sat., Feb. 8. This will be the second year that the WES has given awards to top female entrepreneurs.

Awards will be given in the following categories:

  • Woman Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Woman Start-Up of the Year

To qualify for an award, a woman must own at least 51 percent of a business and operate within 30 miles of Springfield. The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year nominees must have been in business for at least five years, and the Woman Start-Up of the Year nominees should have been in business for less than two years.

Nominees for these awards may be sent to Tammy Rogers at tammy@drury.edu by Dec. 20, 2013. Nominees will be sent a full application form, which is due by Jan. 20, 2014. An independent panel of judges will select the winners. Award winnerswill receive a plaque, be honored at the annual WES event and have their stories posted on Drury’s website.

The WES event provides women entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn about the various aspects of owning a business, network with other entrepreneurs and visit with a wide range of exhibitors. New this year, the exhibit area will offer a women-owned business showcase.

The event is $25, which includes breakfast and lunch. Registration will begin on December 16 at www.drury.edu/ejc/wes.

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