Club leaders to encourage entrepreneurs at March events

By Amrutha Sivakumar, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 5, 2013

This March will be filled with more than just snow and shamrocks.

The newly formed Entrepreneurship Commission of the Central Student Government will host a Month of Entrepreneurship, a collaboration among student organizations on campus. Through the month, various campus groups will have the opportunity to host entrepreneurial events for the student body.

ECommission Chair Scott Christopher said the main goal of the Month of Entrepreneurship is to “change the way people think about entrepreneurship and removing the stigma that entrepreneurship is only for business and engineering students.”

Following up on his campaign promise, CSG President Manish Parikh urged the ECommission last October to “support and foster collaboration” between entrepreneurs, to be a resource for student entrepreneurs and to foster the “entrepreneurial mindset” among Michigan students. Currently, 18 student organizations are members of the commission.

“As an ECommission, we will probably only plan one or two events,” Christopher said. “We are talking to student organizations and figuring out how their events will line up with the Month of Entrepreneurship.”

The commission is working to incorporate a variety of University organizations to take part in the event.

Christopher added that the Month of Entrepreneurship includes collaboration with the Detroit Entrepreneurial Network, a local organization that plans to bring Detroit metropolitan high-school students to campus for entrepreneurship initiatives.

MPowered, a student organization that seeks to foster entrepreneurship among students, will also be involved in the event. MPowered is currently working with the MUSIC Matters organization to plan an “entrepreneurial battle of the bands” competition, the logistics of which are still under discussion.

Other events will include a “Linking-In” event organized in conjunction with the LSA Student Government where faculty members will be given a platform to network and discuss entrepreneurship with interested students. MPowered will also be holding a four-day summit for students in correlation with the Month of Entrepreneurship.

“It will be an opportunity for entrepreneurially-minded students to get together and solve the problems we see on campus,” Christopher said.

About 15 to 20 events are proposed to take place during March.

“We are trying to make something that extends the whole month to have an impact on campus,” Christopher noted. “We also want to make sure that we don’t sacrifice the quality and the participation in these event (by having too many).”

Last Tuesday, CSG allocated $8,100 to the ECommission for the winter semester, the largest sum out of all CSG executive commissions.

However, Christopher noted that the Month of Entrepreneurship would not drain the ECommission of its allocated funds because participating student organizations will provide the funding for their own events.

“If student organizations need funding, we are working with the Student Organization Funding Commission to make sure that there are sufficient funds allocated for them,” Christopher said. “Being entrepreneurial-minded, we’re able to bootstrap a lot of things.”

SOFC Chair Eric Kibler noted that funding applications from organizations for the event would be evaluated by the same standard with which SOFC deals with other applications.

“We fund based on financial need of organizations, the nature of the event, how many people are going to be involved,” Kibler said. “Basically, what does the event add to our campus community and how much does it benefits the students on campus.”