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Young Entrepreneurs Club meets Thursday

By Tyler Stafford
On March 6, 2013

The Young Entrepreneurs Club will hold their first meeting Thursday at 5:30 in room 326 of the FedEx Institute of Technology. The student organization is sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Memphis.
The CEI was formed 19 months ago by Kelly Penwell, who serves as the assistant director of the campus nonprofit. The CEI specializes in helping historically underserved groups develop their potential as entrepreneurs and future business leaders. The YEC was first envisioned by Richard Irwin, associate dean of the University College.
"The YEC is important because it affords entrepreneurial-minded students the opportunity to master new skills while launching their own startup organization," Penwell said. "The idea was to create a student-led effort that gave learners authentic opportunities to add to their skill set and explore the pathway to business ownership."
Carrie Brown-Smith, a U of M assistant professor of journalism, teaches a graduate seminar called Entrepreneurial Journalism. For her, the entrepreneurial spirit is essential for students because they are unlikely to remain in the same jobs over the course of their careers.
"Innovative thinking, a basic understanding of business principles, and tenacity are vital components of a rewarding and successful career today," she said.
Casey Beck, an intern at the CEI and a senior business major, explained that the YEC provides students with direction and support for their business-related ideas.
"The club can also be for students who simply want to hear about others' ideas and learn more about what it is to be an entrepreneur," she said. "In our first meeting we will be giving a basic overview of the club's purpose, as well as a brief introduction to what the CEI does, since it is where the club stemmed from."
The CEI has white board sessions, or open forums, for its clients to present their ideas to a group and receive feedback. The YEC plans to close its meeting with such a session to learn what the club members expect or want out of the club.
"Future goals for the club next semester would be to host a renowned entrepreneur to speak at the U of M," Beck said. "The club would also be a resource for its members to launch their business ideas." n

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