Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship

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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Winners crowned in Startup Drury competition

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 24, 2013 — Weeks of hard work finally came down to competition day for teams of Drury students working on “the next great idea.” The overall winner of the Startup Drury competition was Parker LiaBraaten with his company idea WaterWatch. LiaBraaten was crowned the winner on Thursday, April 4.

LiaBraaten is a sophomore and received the Curt Strube Cup, named for the late Director of the Breech School of Business Administration. His business idea also won Broadest Appeal, allowing him the opportunity to raise capital on CrowdIt, a new crowd-funding platform. In addition, LiaBraaten earned $1,000 and now has the opportunity to attend the College Entrepreneurship Organization’s National Conference and compete in the Elevator Pitch competition. “This is a venture that I actually want to pursue and bring to the market,” said LiaBraaten. “I have put a lot of hard work into this and I’m excited for my next big break.”

First Runner-up and winner of $500 was Corey Wiley and his idea of the Wiley House. Honorable Mention and $250 went to Jeremiah George, Elena Ferris, Kevin Daroga, and Dakota Trithara with their start up idea, Little Momma’s. The plan with the best chance of high growth was IVision, developed by Blake Worland, Kyle Kiely and Brett Stiffler. This group will now have the chance to present their idea to the Springfield Angel Network.

This was the first Startup Drury competition and students of all majors were able to participate. “What is so great about university-wide business model competitions is that we get students with all kinds of majors involved – it pushed entrepreneurship beyond the business school,” said Dr. Kelley Still, executive director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship. “The level of engagement and quality of ideas truly exceeded my expectations and it was a very exciting competition.”

Judges for the competition were:

  • Leon Combs, retired entrepreneur
  • Jason T. Graf, founder, CrowdIt, LLC
  • Brenda Ryan, founder, Alliance Technologies and Ryan Industries, Inc
  • Rob Wheeler, owner MarBeck.com
  • Kailey York, partner, Clayton, York and Hopp, CPAs

Drury University’s Edwrad Jones Center for Entrepreneurship would like to thank judges, sponsors and team mentors for assisting with the Startup competition. Over 20 professionals from the community mentored teams in the competition. MarBeck.com was the presenting sponsor. Engineered Packaging, Chuck Banta and CrowdIt were supporting sponsors.

Drury University’s Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization, the C-Street Business Resource Center, and the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship all co-hosted Startup Drury.

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Student entrepreneurs compete for cash prizes at Startup Drury Competition

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 3, 2013 — Over the past seven weeks, teams of students have been working on business plans hoping to land “the next great idea.” On Thursday, April 4 at 11 a.m. in the Findlay Student Center Ballroom, Drury will crown its first winner in Startup Drury–the Run for the Curt Strube Cup, named for the late Director of the Breech School of Business Administration.

The winning team will win a $1,000 cash prize, and that group will also have the opportunity to attend the College Entrepreneurship Organization’s National Conference and compete in the Elevator Pitch competition. Second and third place teams earn $500 and $250 respectively.

“What is so great about university-wide business model competitions is that we get students with all kinds of majors involved—it pushes entrepreneurship beyond the business school,” said Dr. Kelley Still, executive director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship. “Using the Business Model Generation Canvas (see businessmodelgeneration.com) allows students with limited training to see all the aspects of a start-up that must be considered and realize where they will need to recruit expertise.”

This is a rigorous review process. Each business model has nine parts. Judges reviewed the first six parts of each business model to narrow the field to ten. The ten finalists will make their presentations from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on April 4. They will break for lunch while the judges deliberate. At 1 p.m., the judges will hand out awards for the top three plans.

Additionally, the plan with the best chance of high growth will have an opportunity to present to the Springfield Angel Network. The idea with the broadest appeal will have an opportunity to raise capital on CrowdIt, and the top “green” business idea will attend the Missouri Environmental Initiative.

Judges for the competition are:

  • Leon Combs, retired entrepreneur
  • Jason T. Graf, founder, CrowdIt, LLC
  • Brenda Ryan, founder, Alliance Technologies and Ryan Industries, Inc.
  • Rob Wheeler, owner MarBeck.com
  • Kailey York, partner, Clayton, York and Hopp, CPAs

Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship would like to thank the judges, sponsors and team mentors. Over 20 professionals from the community mentored teams in the competition.

MarBeck.com is the presenting sponsor. Engineered Packaging, Chuck Banta and CrowdIt are supporting sponsors.

Drury University’s Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization, Drury on C-Street and the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship are co-hosting Startup Drury.

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Artists can learn and network at Drury on April 6

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 14, 2013 — Drury University will host the sixth annual Self-Employment in the Arts (SEA) OzArts Conference on Saturday, April 6 in the Trustee Science Center from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The conference will focus on the business side of pursuing a visual, performing or literary arts career, as well as review fundamental skills necessary for all self-employed artists. The $30 registration fee includes breakfast and lunch. The conference is free for students.

“Artists don’t have to be starving artists,” said Dr. Kelley Still, executive director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Drury University. “The Edward Jones Center is proud to offer this Coleman Foundation initiative to help seasoned professionals and budding entrepreneurs make the most of their art careers and connect with other professionals.”

Phil Dickey, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Speakers include professionals from music, theatre, writing and the visual arts. The featured luncheon keynote speaker is Phillip Dickey, 2005 Drury graduate and musician with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Dickey has traveled the world as thedrummer and business manager for Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, he was recently appointed by the U.S State Department as a cultural ambassador to Russia, and his songs havebeen featured in television shows and commercials.

Registration is open at www.drury.edu/ejc/sea.  For more information contact Tammy Rogers, tammy@drury.edu, (417) 873-6357.

The Coleman Foundation provided funding for the conference. Free registration for students is madepossible by donations from Student Advocates for the Arts and Drury’s Student Government Association.

Media Contact: Sara Cochran, M.A., Associate Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, Office: (417) 873-3014, Mobile: (417) 861-5721, Email: scochran@drury.edu

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Drury recognizes Entrepreneurship Week with kickoff of Idea Competition

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 13, 2013 — On Thursday, Feb. 14, some of Drury’s most entrepreneurial minds will begin a quest to create Drury’s best business model and win a $1,000 cash prize. The Startup Drury Idea Competition will culminate with final presentations on Thursday, April 4. The event is on the eve of National Entrepreneurship Week, which runs Feb. 16-23.

The competition is open to current Drury undergraduates or December 2012 graduates. Teams will be made up of one-to-four students and each team will be assigned a mentor from the community and the teams will be required to meet with the mentor at least three times as they develop their business models.

Besides the $1,000 cash prize for the winning team, that group will also have the opportunity to attend the College Entrepreneurship Organization’s National Conference and compete in the Elevator Pitch competition. The second and third place teams will win $500 and $250 respectively. Additionally, the idea with the best chance of starting up quickly will have an opportunity to present to the Springfield Angel Investors Network. The idea with the broadest appeal will have an opportunity to raise capital on Crowd-It, and the top “green” business idea will attend the Missouri Environmental Initiative.

When students meet in the Breech School of Business to begin the competition, they’ll hear from Drury freshman Jerrod Harmon. Harmon co-owns EDJy, an extreme sports apparel company that focuses on skateboarding, surfing and BMX. Harmon owns the company with his brother and cousin and works with Skate for Change to provide food and water to low-income and homeless people.

Drury University’s Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization, Drury on C-Street and the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship will co-host the Startup Drury Idea Competition.

Media: The Startup Drury Idea Competition begins at noon on Thursday, Feb. 14, in the Breech School of Business, Room 200.

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

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Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium winners announced

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 4, 2013 —Peggy Barton of Great American Title Agency was honored as Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, and Granolove’s Christine Daues was named Woman-Owned Startup of the Year at the 2013 Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (WES) on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Drury University.

Judges had the following comments about Barton, “The rapid growth of Great American Title Agency from one office in Nixa in 1994 to thirteen branch offices today demonstrates Peggy’s dedication and integrity.” And, “Because she persevered through the adversity of her husband’s death and built her business while dealing with grief, Peggy deserves to be honored as a role model to other women entrepreneurs.”

Comments about Daues included, “ We appreciated Christine’s dedication to creating a healthy product, and her support of kids’ health by donating 10 percent of the business profits to Shriners Hospitals for Children.”  And, “Christine is a good example of an entrepreneur that has overcome the challenges faced by many new businesses.  We are excited to watch Granolove grow in the future.”

This is the first year that Drury’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium has honored a Woman Entrepreneur and a Woman-Owned Startup of the year. The annual WES event is sponsored by Drury’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship.

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