Dr. Jeff Cornwall, Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship, was named Friday as the Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year by the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE). Cornwall was selected from a group of distinguished nominees and chosen for his countless and enduring contributions to entrepreneurship education.
“To be named the most outstanding educator in one’s field in higher education is the highest compliment a professor can receive,” said Belmont’s College of Business Administration Dean Dr. Pat Raines. “Jeff’s professional accomplishments and the prestige that he has brought to Belmont’s entrepreneurship program make him an extraordinarily worthwhile recipient of this award.”
Dr. Cornwall said, “I am humbled to be recognized this way for the work that I do as an entrepreneurship educator.”
Past winners of the award include faculty members from Oklahoma State University, University of Texas (Austin), Stanford University, Purdue University and Baylor University, among others.
Belmont senior Tom Haarlander is paving his road to success through three entrepreneurship ventures that provide medical supplies, manufacture them in China and import the products into Europe and the United States. Although he expects to gross nearly $6 million between his three companies this year, the University gave him an unprecedented opportunity Wednesday to practice his pitch before venturing to trade shows to promote teeth-whitening cold wave lasers, anti-aging facial probes and medical optical lamps.
“[The Center for Entrepreneurship] brings stability to what you are doing. I can put my foot to the gas and run all over, but if I don’t have a solid foundation, it will fall apart,” Haarlander said.
Forty-two businesses participated in Belmont’s first-ever Entrepreneurship Village held Wednesday morning under white tents surrounding the Bell Tower. Thirteen alumni returned to Belmont for the village, including Erin O. Anderson, owner of artist management company Olivia Management.
“The best thing [about the village] is getting to know students at Belmont and getting to encourage them,” said Anderson (’06). “I tell them, ‘You may not be sure what you want to do, but you can do it on your own.’ It’s been fun to encourage students to start their own businesses.”
The village featured companies of various industries including smart phone applications, graphic design, videography, photography, music publishing, construction, vintage jewelry, custom apparel printing and textbooks. The purpose of the event was to display the innovation, creativity and success of Belmont’s entrepreneurship students and alumni.
Dr. Jeff Cornwall, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, was quoted this week in a USA Today article titled “Gen Y grads more likely to launch start-ups.” Click here to read the story.
Five teams of undergraduate students competed in the annual Belmont Student Business Plan Competition sponsored by Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC. The event was held on March 16 in the Massey Boardroom. Senior Jerell Harris won first place and earned $5,000 and the title of “Outstanding Student Entrepreneur of the Year” for his business plan for QuickMed, a medical waste management company whose primary service consists of collecting, transporting, and processing medical waste.
“The entrepreneurship program has helped me tremendously. I have learned how to listen to complaints within a market and develop products or services based on those criticisms. In addition, the course has taught me how to make necessary pivotal steps that will help my reach my growth targets. Above all, I have learned how to manage my company as it goes through various life cycles,” said Harris, who is studying entrepreneurship.
Jonathan Murrell and Moriah Nogoy took second place and $2,000 for their Candy Galaxy business plan. Julia Cecere earned $1,000 for Cool Candy & Beverage Company. Other finalists included George Livingston and Ian Raffalovich for Sweet Meat Jerky, Seth Whiting for Map My Views and Michelle Keil for Nava Salon. Each of the entries was for a real business venture that is currently operating or that is in the planning stages to be launched. Numerous students submitted written plans and the top six were given the opportunity to present their ideas to a committee of judges consisting of Belmont Entrepreneurship Alums and business leaders from the Nashville community.
“This was by far the most competitive group of applications and finalists for the presentation that we have ever had in this event. The outside judges were blown away by the work our students are doing,” said Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship Jeff Cornwall.
Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship Mark Schenkel recently received the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) President’s Award for Outstanding Service. The plaque is in recognition for his outstanding leadership and service serving as senior vice president of operations and planning on the USASBE Board of Directors. The award was presented on Jan. 15 during the 26th annual USASBE conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. USASBE is the largest independent academic organization in the world dedicated to advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship.
Jon Acuff, best-selling author of Stuff Christians Like, spoke last week in the Massey Board Room about the five lies every entrepreneur must ignore in order to succeed. An experienced speaker and the creator of StuffChristiansLike.net, a blog read by more than two million people in 97 percent of the countries in the world, Acuff has worked with companies like Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, Bose and Staples on their brand positioning and marketing.
In a talk sponsored by Belmont’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Acuff spoke on “5 Lies Every Entrepreneur Must Ignore to Succeed,” captivating a completely packed room of hopeful Belmont students and faculty by delivering his powerful message with a lighthearted and slightly comical spin.
He began by emphasizing the fact that technology and social media have completely redefined our generation’s standards and opportunities among the business realm. Acuff claimed that “consumer behavior has changed” because “our generation is the most over-marketed” generation in comparison to ever before.
The exorbitant amount of information that technology offers allows consumers to research and become aware of nearly anything, and they desire truth in marketing. Acuff brought up an example of change in comparing Nike’s marketing slogan years ago versus now to illustrate this point of truth in marketing. At one point, Nike’s marketing campaign was “Be Like Mike” which inferred to the consumer that by wearing Air Jordan shoes one could be like Michael Jordan. Now Nike’s marketing campaign is “Our shoes work if you do.” This pointed example prefaced Acuff’s message of entrepreneurs being mindful of the lies that can often detour one’s success.
In partnership with the Isaiah 58 ministry at Belmont Church, the Belmont University Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team is making a difference in the lives of a group of Nashville’s homeless and formerly incarcerated via a rather unusual means—recycling mattresses.
The non-profit, Spring Back Recycling, launched “Spring Back Nashville” just over six months ago and already more than 1,700 mattresses have been disassembled and recycled. The Belmont SIFE students spent a full year developing the business model for Spring Back, analyzing operations, accounting, marketing, legal contracts and safety procedures. Belmont Church’s Isaiah 58 ministry thereafter partnered with the team, providing an available facility, equipment, as well as an eager and capable workforce for the start-up business. Isaiah 58’s School of Life ministry is a residential program that helps formerly incarcerated men get back on their feet. With Spring Back Nashville, the men are disassembling old mattresses into scrap metal, cotton and foam—more than 85 percent of each mattress can be fully recycled.
Dr. John Gonas, associate professor of finance and SIFE advisor at Belmont, said, “I’m amazed that the Belmont students have created such a sustainable, scalable and economically viable business that blesses the community with a solid employment opportunity while simultaneously keeping so much recyclable waste out of landfills.”
Belmont alum Jake Jorgovan (2011) was recognized as the Young Entrepreneur of the year at the 2011 NEXT Awards, and his company, Rabbit Hole Creative LLC, won the Digital Media Award for Growth. From its inception at Belmont, Rabbit Hole has already worked with top name clients like Dolly Parton, Cee Lo Green, Paramore, Nashville’s Live on The Green concert series and Cirque du Soleil.
From emerging startups to growth companies to well-established market movers, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Entrepreneur Center’s NEXT Awards recognize Middle Tennessee companies and entrepreneurs making the most significant impact on our local economy.
As Belmont welcomes its largest incoming class ever, so are we in the Undergraduate School of Business. We have a very impressive group joining us from 26 states and several countries. This freshmen class is made up of student government leaders, Girls/Boys State delegates, athletes, worship leaders, musicians, community servers, mission trip workers, valedictorians, etc. We are proud to have them with us and look forward to getting to know them better during their time at Belmont!
In addition to new students, we have four accomplished faculty joining us this fall — Colin Cannonier, Assistant Professor of Economics, Dennis Chen, Assistant Professor of Management in International Business, Lora Harding, Assistant Professor of Marketing, and Mark Phillips, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship.
As we continue to innovate and look for the best ways to engage students and equip them for the future, we have added a few new special opportunities for learning. For example, our financial information center, the first educational financial trading classroom in the State of Tennessee, now has four touch screen monitors, enabling students to access a variety of data instantaneously.
In addition, our Center for Entrepreneurship will have two new campus-based businesses up and running this fall — BLVD Music Shop, which just recently opened on Belmont Blvd, and Belmont Apps Development Agency, which is launching in collaboration with alumni who started the app firm Aloompa.
We encourage students to get involved in at least one of our various student organizations this year and take advantage of the excellent internship and service opportunities they have access to. Now is the time to utilize all of the great resources Belmont has to offer!
We wish all of our students, faculty and staff the best as we begin this new academic year together!
Last night, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Jeff Cornwall, Director of Belmont’s Center for Entrepreneurship, interview Dave Ramsey, successful financial author and radio host, at Belmont. Mr. Ramsey shared stories and helpful advice from his own entrepreneurial experiences. He talked about how personally, and with his company, he mainly wanted to follow what God led him to do (run a “WWJD business”), then use it to bless and help others. As a Christian organization, Mr. Ramsey said they operate by “the golden rule” (“Do to others as you would have them do to you” Luke 6:31).