Guest Blogger: Dr. Stephen Harper, Duke Energy/Betty Cameron Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, Cameron School of Business
The Cameron School of Business embraces the concept that organizations function best when they are without boundaries.
This is true for many Cameron School of Business events, such as: Business Week; sponsored trips to various places, including Wall Street; activities like the regional and national Sales Competition; and the academic programs throughout the year in numerous foreign countries, including China.
The boundaryless nature of the Cameron School of Business is also evident in this past fall’s Entrepreneurship Week. Dr. Steve Harper – the Duke Energy/Betty Cameron Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship who coordinates Entrepreneurship Week – noted that one of the great things about the greater Wilmington area is it has a vibrant and growing “entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
He noted that all the speakers this year came from the Wilmington area.
- Sean Ruttkay, founder of EDASurf
- Andrew Williams, founder of Elite Innovations
- Kristen Beckmeyer Spetrino, founder of Topsee Tulip
- Kyria Henry, founder of Paws4People
- Keynote speaker Todd John, founder of PlayerSpace
Kyria and Todd were recognized at last spring’s Coastal Entrepreneur Awards event, which is a joint effort of UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, along with a host of local sponsors.
Entrepreneurship Week also included the Entrepreneurs’ Roundtable luncheon with Robert Preville, founder of Kwipped, and the Entrepreneurship Case Competition. Judges of the competition were Robert Baratta, product Manager for SeaHawk Innovation; Paul Baron founder of WebTel Marketing; and Jeannette King, co-Founder of Specialtysoft.
The final event for Entrepreneurship Week was the Innovation Concept Pitch Competition, where five undergraduate students profiled their concepts to Sean Ahlum, Director of tekMountain; Ed Hall, founder of Petrics; and Chris Krumm, coordinator of UNCW’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization.
TekMountain at Castle Branch was the Master Sponsor for the competition, which provided cash prizes to the top three students. Elite Innovations committed to provide 10 hours of advice to the winner. Other sponsors included the Cameron School of Business and CIE.
Entrepreneurship Week also recognized the merit in being boundaryless this year by promoting the Cucalorus Connect Conference to students across campus. CIE and the Cameron School of Business teamed up to cover the cost for students to attend the conference.
Nine senior-level Entrepreneurship and Business Development students also served as liaisons for the entrepreneurs and videographers in the 10x10 part of Cucalorus Connect.
Yet, Entrepreneurship Week is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how the Cameron School of Business taps the area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. For example, Castle Branch CEO) Brett Martin is UNCW’s Resident Entrepreneur and Jason Nista, one of the co-founders Fuzzy Peach, is the Entrepreneurship Club’s Resident Entrepreneur.
Other area entrepreneurs are guest speakers for classes and Business Week. Entrepreneurs in the Cameron Executive Network serve as mentors to business students. Numerous area entrepreneurs serve on the Cameron School of Business’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board and other advisory boards in the Cameron School of Business.
It should be clear that embracing the boundaryless approach is an everyone-wins proposition. The students gain insights into what is happening on the entrepreneurial firing line and the entrepreneurs have the opportunity to contribute to the Cameron School of Business’s commitment to providing an exceptional educational environment.