Event to feature NARS president, film premiere

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A presentation by National Asset Recovery Services president and chief executive officer Christopher Buehrle and the premiere screening of a new documentary film are among the highlighted events scheduled for National Entrepreneurship Week, Monday through Feb. 27.

Sponsored by Southeast Missouri State University's Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Innovation Center, the week is part of a larger effort to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in students, center director Dr. James Stapleton said.

"The events we've had on campus in the past have involved not just business majors but students from all walks of life," Stapleton said. "That underscores the value of the programs we've instituted at the center and the future looks brighter than ever."

In June, the center launched the Missouri Rural Entrepreneurial Through Action Learning program aimed at promoting entrepreneurial education for the state's grade-school students and teachers by studying business concepts.

Five months later, Southeast students joined millions of college students worldwide to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, an event that featured forums, competitions and speakers including Pasta House co-founder J. Kim Tucci. The university ranked as the fourth most active in the U.S. that participated in the week.

National Entrepreneurship Week will begin Monday. On Tuesday, Buehrle will speak to students in entrepreneurship classes and at a luncheon sponsored by the Redhawks Collegiate Entrepreneurship student organization. Buehrle created NARS, a call center with offices in St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, the Caribbean and Latin America.

The following day, students from the university and local high schools will have the opportunity to attend the premiere of the Young Entrepreneur Society documentary film about 40 of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the U.S. Producer Louis Lautman will attend the screening and answer questions from the audience.

"The film's producer was impressed with our showing during Global Entrepreneurship Week and wanted to come here to screen his film," Stapleton said. "So that's a huge deal for our university and students."

Throughout the week the Innovation Center will present SPARK awards to small businesses that created or expanded through the support of the center's training programs Operation Bootstrap and Operation Jump-Start.

The two programs have helped create or expand about 230 businesses and added more than 360 jobs in Southeast Missouri, Northeast Tennessee and Southern Illinois, said Innovation Center training coordinator Gina Harper.

SPARK award recipients are Cape Precision Machine, LLC in Cape Girardeau; Mineral Area Pro Wash in Bonne Terre, Mo.; Baetje Farms in Ste. Genevieve, Mo.; Wee Care Preschool in Advance, Mo.; Adorable Again in Dyersburg, Tenn.; and Flower Ridge Farm in Harrisburg, Ill. Awards will be presented in the town of each business.

bblackwell@semissourian.com

388-3628

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