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Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship to Host Virtual Entrepreneurship Week

The Chaifetz School’s Center for Entrepreneurship will host its first Virtual Entrepreneurship Week from April 12-16. The five days of virtual events will be split up into a series of networking opportunities and two competitions, giving students the chance to apply their skills and learn directly from professionals. 

Billicon Valley 2018

Students networking at Billicon Valley in 2018. To ensure the safety of all participants, this year's event will be entirely virtual. 

“We want to give a space in this year, where everything’s virtual, to come together and recognize all the different places that we are still finding innovative ways to support entrepreneurship in the school and the community,” said Dr. Patricia Bagsby, professor and manager of the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Bagsby said this week will benefit both students and start-ups, as both will be given the opportunity to network and promote themselves. The goal is to connect kindred spirits who share a passion for innovation.

The week will kick off on Monday, April 12 with a message from Dr. Barnali Gupta, Edward Jones Dean of Chaifetz School of Business, followed by a discussion with members of SLU’s entrepreneurship space, including faculty, students and alumni. On April 13, Billicon Valley, SLU’s showcase entrepreneurship event, will make a return for an evening of networking, with options for both one-on-one meetings and informal group meetings with local start-up businesses. These events will be open to all SLU students who have registered and will run from 6 to 8 p.m. each night.

The Case and Elevator Pitch Competitions, open only to finalists and judges, offer participating students the chance to apply their ingenuity and receive constructive feedback on their presentations.

“It’s fun because they not only get the chance to present something they’re passionate about, but they get feedback on how they present that idea,” Bagsby said. “It’s about the idea itself, but it’s also about the art of persuasion.”

The week will commence on Friday with a keynote address from Jim Kavanaugh, CEO of World Wide Technology, and an announcement of the competition winners. Following the keynote, informal fireside chats will give students another opportunity to meet with entrepreneurship leaders in a small group setting. The events offered include Think Like a Futurist by Jeremy Nulik, 5 UX Tips for Tech Founders by Shanae Chapman and Women in Entrepreneurship by Jennifer Ehlen.

“It’s really important to recognize the importance of entrepreneurship on the ecosystem of a city,” Bagsby said. “We want to help people figure out how to remove barriers to that. We want to bring people together to support each other and spark ideas. Feeding off of each other’s excitement sparks the motivation and drive to keep going.”