Monday, November 25, 2013

RedTire program earns recognition for innovation

RedTire is one of the most effective initiatives for engaging regional and local economic development according to a report published by the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC).

The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) at the Economic Development Administration (EDA), a bureau within the USDC, collected information about entrepreneurial programs from universities all over the country, including 131 research universities. The OIE published its findings in a report titled, “The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus.”

The report said “the goal is for universities and colleges to look at these examples for inspiration and relevance to their programs and objectives.” RedTire, launched in June 2012, is one of those examples.

When rural business owners retire, many times the business closes simply because there is nobody to take over. RedTire matches businesses facing that dilemma with qualified Kansas graduates who want to own a company, thereby keeping the businesses open so they can continue to contribute to the local economy. Wally Meyer is director of entrepreneurship programs at KU and the director of RedTire. He said more than 100 businesses are participating in RedTire and they all provide essential services to the community.

“We also have about 150 candidates who have submitted their applications as replacement managers for the business owners who are retiring,” Meyer said. “We are currently in the process of matching those replacement management candidates with the businesses looking for successor management.”

The report praises the efforts of universities to support and revitalize local and regional economies through innovation and entrepreneurship.

For more information about RedTire or to apply, visit

Friday, November 22, 2013

Speaker engages business students in personal finance presentation

Adam Carroll
By talking about loans, cards and cars, Adam Carroll made personal finance a relatable topic for KU students.

On Nov. 13 Carroll, founder of National Financial Educators and Succeed Faster, presented “Winning the Money Game,” a financial talk based on the book he coauthored in 2005 by the same name.

Carroll told students about his experience with debt, living off loans as a college student, using the money for more than his school expenses.  He lived as a rich college student and paid for it as a broke professional.

“When I graduated from school, I had $20,000 in student loans, I had $8,000 in credit card debt and I was upside down in my car,” he said.

To make up for it, Carroll and his wife lived on one income in the early years of their marriage and used the other to pay down their debt.  He said starting early and living frugally allowed them to live more comfortably now.

“If you do for two years what most people won’t do, you’ll do for the rest of your life what most people can’t do,” he said.

Beginning in college, Carroll said, debt becomes an increasing challenge for many Americans as they’re “borrowing from tomorrow.”

93% of college sophomores have one to two credit cards.
Those students owe an average of $2,700.
The average household carries 14.7 credit cards and owes an average of $9,317.

Carroll used a model of a “spender, even Steven and saver” to demonstrate spending habits and what he calls, “needifying our wants.”  Americans justify unnecessary purchases by saying they need the product, causing many to spend beyond their means.  Carroll said this forces many Americans to live paycheck to paycheck.

“You have to have more money at the end of your month.  Not more month at the end of your money,” he said.

Carroll encourages the idea of becoming an investor-consumer and looking for ways to create more income instead of merely working for a salary.

“Put your money to work for you.  Employ it,” he said.  “So at some point you don’t have to go to work for your money.  It works for you.”

Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity, Student Alumni Association and the School of Business sponsored the event.  Learn more about Carroll at Carroll donated copies of his book, and Delta Sigma Pi is selling them for $15 to raise money for its chapter.

by Allison Kite

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

MBA alumna joins Kansas gubernatorial ticket

KU alumna Jill Docking made headlines in October when Lawrence Democrat Paul Davis announced her addition to his 2014 bid for Kansas governor.

A long-time resident of Wichita, Docking has been an active player in Kansas public policy, including a 1996 run for U.S. Senate.

“Civil commitment and community are vital to the success of democracy,” Docking said, “and my husband, Tom, and I take seriously our commitments to our city and our state.”

Since earning her KU MBA in 1983, Docking has spent more than 25 years in the financial services industry, and credits her business background for guiding her political career.

“The skills learned in the business classroom — to analyze data and make sound decisions on policy — are critical in both the public and private sectors,” she said.

Docking fondly remembers her time in Summerfield Hall, noting that “a day focused on facing down Maurice Joy or Larry Sheerer taught me critical skills for life — preparation, perseverance and humility.”

She shares Dean Bendapudi’s desire to bring private sector solutions to public problems, and notes that partnerships between the private and public sectors enhance the strength of both.

“It’s my hope that business school alumni will choose to dedicate a portion of their lives to public service through community boards, local elected office or, of course, state or federal office.”

In 2010, Docking received the School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award. She has served the school as a member of its board of advisors, executive committee and finance advisory board.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Business school to celebrate social entrepreneurship

This week, the KU School of Business celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week through the lens of social enterprise, but the concept of social entrepreneurship is not a new idea.

John Muir, known as the Father of the National Parks, founded the conservation organization Sierra Club in 1892; Susan B. Anthony campaigned for women’s rights and played a major role in the adoption of the 19th amendment; and Kailash Satyarthi continues to fight against child labor in India and around the world.

Fueled in part by economic situations, social entrepreneurship is growing like never before and KU business students want to get involved.

“We continue to see an increasing interest in social entrepreneurship from students,” said Charlotte Tritch, associate director of entrepreneurship programs. “Global Entrepreneurship Week is a perfect platform to expose students from across campus to the concept of social entrepreneurship, and shows how students can use entrepreneurial thinking to solve today’s social challenges.”

This year, nearly 75 percent of the countries in the world will participate in the global movement. Events at the Lied Center include a student competition of ideas to promote economic growth in Wyandotte County, a panel of area social entrepreneurs, and remarks from U.S. Senator Jerry Moran and School of Business Dean Neeli Bendapudi. The events this Friday will conclude with a networking lunch providing an opportunity to speak with the panel members and other guests.

The goal of Global Entrepreneurship Week, now in its sixth year, is to inspire people around the world to move forward with their ideas and to encourage the spread of an entrepreneurial mindset.

Students get inside look at KC startup scene

Nov. 15 marked the first ever Silicon Prairie News startup job crawl in Kansas City, sponsored by The University of Kansas School of Business.

The job crawl allowed Kansas City area university students to network with entrepreneurs and learn more about the startup community.  Startups and organizations involved in the crawl are looking to involve students in the startup community.  Foster Casterline, a KU information systems student and primary organizer of the crawl, has worked with the startup community and said he believes students can get a competitive advantage by working for a startup during their college career.

“There’s a lot more pressure on you, and you’re going to have to work a lot harder, but you’re going to learn so much more about it and how to run a company, ” Casterline said.

Brittany Mascio, events coordinator at Silicon Prairie News, said the organization wants to partner with universities to spread the word about the startup community and inform students of opportunities.  She said she believes events like the job crawl allow students to see a range of career options.

“It opens their eyes to other options they might not have been aware of,” she said.

Students arrived first at EyeVerify, a member startup of the Kansas City Startup Village. The village is a community of 25 startups, founded to provide support for entrepreneurs after the introduction of Google Fiber.

Students heard from several founders of KCSV startups including Jeff Rohr, CEO and founder of SquareOffs.  During a debate with a friend, Rohr recognized the need for a platform that allows people to discuss and share their viewpoints on a number of matters.  The realization inspired him to found SquareOffs, a debate forum that can be housed in publishers’ websites similar to a YouTube video.

The bus next took students to BetaBlox, which serves as an incubator for startups, assisting them with law and tax issues.  BetaBlox presented its current projects to students and told them about the type of employee they are looking for.

The final stop on the crawl was the Kauffman Foundation where students were able to network with startups that are hiring.

Nate Olson of the Kauffman Foundation founded the One Million Cups program, which allows entrepreneurs to present their ideas to an audience and receive feedback.  He encourages more students to attend the event as a way to be involved in the startup community, because he wants to keep talent local.
“Our interest is keeping talent in the region and getting smart people to start companies and to work in companies,” he said.

Olson said there isn’t only one way to get started in entrepreneurship careers after college.
“When you get done with school, there is no right path,” he said.  “There is only forward.”

by Allison Kite

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Serial entrepreneur shares life story with student clubs

Startup specialist Christian Fisher visited the School of Business on Wednesday night to talk shop with members of the entrepreneurship and information systems student clubs.

Fisher has worked for startups, such as Twitter, as well as created some of his own. His current project, Briefcase, gained funding from SparkLabKC, which brought him from the West Coast to the Midwest about a year and a half ago. Briefcase is a job search app that delivers real-time push notifications to job seekers while keeping track of the application process. The application’s aim is to make it more convenient for people to stay on top of their job hunt from anywhere.

As he spoke to a packed classroom on Wednesday, Fisher said Briefcase was the culmination of a lifelong goal to help people get jobs through the use of technology.

Fisher grew up in a low-income neighborhood in East Oakland, Calif., where his mom worked three jobs, and at night, she attended school through an online program. The opportunity that provided his family set in motion Fisher’s lifelong objective to use technology to enrich peoples’ lives, he said.

After Fisher shared his personal story, he answered students’ questions about entrepreneurship and life in the startup industry.

“The benefits are crap. The pay is crap. But you get to work with people who share your vision,” he said.

Fisher said people find their way into the startup community and entrepreneurship in varying ways. Some may start their career working for a large company, and others may jump right into a startup on their own.

“Everyone’s path is different,” he said.

No matter how entrepreneurs get started or the challenges they may face, he added, it’s all about disrupting the idea of the status quo to improve how people live.

by Annie Montemayor

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

School focuses on building global competency

The School of Business is responding to the increasingly global nature of business by providing study abroad opportunities for graduate students.

The business school makes study abroad programs available for graduate students in the MAcc and MBA programs to supplement their classroom education.  John Hedeman, the new director of student international experiences for the Institute of International Business, emphasized the increasing importance of studying abroad during business education.

“I firmly believe that business students must develop knowledge, skills and attributes that make them a globally competent as possible because in the 21st century, all business is global,” Hedeman said.

Business students make up 16 percent of all students studying abroad, making it the second largest department on campus for study abroad.  Hedeman said the business school is hoping to prepare its students with a global mindset.

“The business school is putting all the resources in place for its students to become globally competent,” Hedeman said.  “I look forward to the time when being globally competent is the norm and not the exception among our students.  From past experience, I know this goal is reachable.”

Because business graduates are dealing more and more in international business, Dee Steinle, administrative director of masters programs, agrees that studying abroad allows students to add perspective to lessons from their classes.

“It enhances what we already teach and takes it to a new level,” Steinle said.

Steinle also said that studying abroad can help broaden your global knowledge and stretch your boundaries.

“It enlarges your world.  It enlarges your perspective” Steinle said.  “You understand what it is to be out of your element and out of your comfort zone.”

The business school maintains study abroad programs all over the globe, allowing students to select based on their language abilities, preferences and the area of business they want to study.  Graduate study abroad opportunities area available to business students in India, Costa Rica, France, China, Italy, Germany and Panama.  The business school recently added an entrepreneurship study abroad in Israel available winter break 2014.

Learn more about graduate study abroad opportunities online.

by Allison Kite

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meet the Professor: John Hedeman

This year the business school welcomes John Hedeman as the new director of student international experiences within the Institute for International Business. Hedeman is responsible for international programming and experiences for KU students. He previously worked at the College of Business at the University of Illinois, where he created undergraduate programs that emphasized leadership and international experience.

How did you become interested in student international experiences? 

While working at the University of Illinois my goal was to inspire all the students in the business school to participate in an international experience during their four undergraduate years.  I led student groups to Germany, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Turkey, China and India and witnessed firsthand how important the international experience was to the skill development of each student. I firmly believe that business students must develop knowledge, skills and attitudes that make them as globally competent as possible because in the 21st century all business is global.

What are your goals for the Institute for International Business this academic year?

I have three primary goals for the current academic year:
1. To get to know as many of the KU business faculty, staff and students as possible.
2. We are working on a project with the campus Study Abroad Office and the KU Business Advising Office to map courses at international universities which will provide value added experiences for KU Business students studying abroad for a semester.  
3. EY, the Big 4 accounting firm, has provided KU Business with a generous gift to support our efforts in enhancing a global education for our students.  We will be working with EY to implement the plan which includes an exciting global certificate program for students that we hope to unveil soon.
What are some of your most memorable experiences leading students internationally?

-Interviewing women in India who manage a budget of approximately $40 a month to feed, clothe, and educate their children.  If our representatives in Washington were as good with budgets, we would be in a stronger financial position.
-Visiting the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea and getting the opportunity to step across the line that separates these two countries.  Of course, we were well guarded by the soldiers of South Korea.
-The greatest experience of all takes place after travel when I observe students sharing the excitement with other students and encouraging them to study abroad.

What do you enjoy about being a Jayhawk?

I am impressed when Dean Neeli Bendapudi talks about KU being at the intersection of “smart and nice.”  I love the Kansas and KU spirit of smart and nice.

by Mackenzie Leander

Friday, November 1, 2013

Meet the Professor: Charlotte Tritch

Charlotte Tritch is associate director of entrepreneurship programs and a lecturer at the School of Business. KU's Center for Civic and Social Responsibility in October recognized Tritch for her outstanding involvement in experiential learning and community engagement. 

What makes you passionate about entrepreneurship?

First, to define how I think of entrepreneurship is that it’s a mindset. Some people think it means starting the next Apple in their garage, and it can mean that, but it’s really more about the idea of ‘How do you recognize opportunities and act upon them?’ It’s exciting to me because entrepreneurship can be for everyone. The idea of entrepreneurial thinking can be applicable to anybody in many situations; it does not have to be a Silicon Valley startup. That is what makes it exciting for me and fun to be involved with.

Why is service learning and community engagement important?

I think in business courses it is important to bring in as much experiential learning as possible. In my mind, working with community organizations or nonprofits, which have a lot of the same issue as for-profits, is important. It’s valuable to use those skills you’re learning in the classroom to benefit these organizations. So if we can figure out ways to marry those two, it’s a great fit.

What project are you currently working on? 

Global Entrepreneurship Week, started by the Kauffman Foundation, is made up of tens of thousands of events happening across 130 different countries at once the week of Nov. 18. People can form independent events and register them at KU. Our main event is Friday, Nov. 22nd at The Lied Center. Students compete to come up with a social innovation concept that could benefit eastern Kansas, which struggles with poverty and unemployment. Then a panel of social innovators and entrepreneurs will talk about how they’ve gotten their ideas, why they became entrepreneurs and why they became interested in social entrepreneurship. At the end, a free lunch will be open to anyone on campus.

What are your goals for the entrepreneurship program this academic year?

We are putting a focus on social entrepreneurship. I want to see more cross-campus involvement. I think we have a great presence and strength here in the business school. So, one of my goals with this is to bring in students to introduce them to entrepreneurship and how it can impact their goals across campus.

What courses in the entrepreneurship program do you most enjoy you teaching and why?

I teach three courses and I like them all!
-Corporate Entrepreneurship, it was just approved to be a permanent course. The idea behind it is how to apply entrepreneurship to a large established company.
-Management of Small Businesses, it’s fun because we work as consultants with local small businesses. Students get to interact with business owners and help them tackle problems.
-Entrepreneurship in Practice, it’s exciting because it’s very untraditional. We work on a simulation throughout the course and on a major project. This year’s project is with Van Go, Inc., an art-based social service agency in east Lawrence.  
How did you get to where you are as associate director of entrepreneurship programs?

My background is in industry. After getting my MBA in Chicago, I spent my time working for both small and large businesses in mainly strategy roles, as well as running my own marketing consulting firm. Then I learned about the entrepreneurship program here at KU. It just sounded like a terrific opportunity so I pursued it. Now it’s my third year here.

What are one or two of your proudest professional highlights during your time at KU?

I would say my Entrepreneurship in Practice class last spring. We did a big project with the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. The project students worked on all semester was presented high-level KU administrators, including Sara Rosen, senior vice provost for academic affairs. I was really proud of the students and how hard they worked.

by Mackenzie Leander