Columbia, MO - The third annual Entrepreneurial Educator Summit (EES) was held April 4-5 at the Country Club of Missouri, in conjunction with the Entrepreneur Quest (EQ) Student Pitch Competition. The EES is an event for educators and support staff from all four UM System universities to come together in a collaborative environment to design curriculum that will open up entrepreneurship opportunities systemwide.
Educators at EES made connections with other faculty and staff to share effective teaching strategies and the successes and challenges of teaching entrepreneurial education. The summit had a practical focus, in which small groups identified solutions to systemwide challenges in moderated conversations. During one discussion, “Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset and Infusing it Across Campus,” participants from each of the universities gave input on what their educational community is doing to instill entrepreneurship in students. Faculty members were particularly excited to engage a panel of students who discussed their entrepreneurial journeys on their respective campuses. Thursday evening, keynote speaker Natalie Self, market gaps program officer of the entrepreneurship department at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, spoke about the importance of authentically committing to inclusivity when encouraging students to pursue their business dreams.
Each year at the EES, the Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year Award is presented to a faculty or staff member for distinguished activity in developing and nurturing entrepreneurs. This year, Dr. Gregory L. Bier, director of Mizzou’s Entrepreneur Quest (EQ) and Entrepreneurship Alliance (EA) programs was recognized. Although EA was founded in the Robert J. Trulaske College of Business, Dr. Bier works to ensure that entrepreneurially-minded students in any discipline feel welcome and have a place to grow. Dr. Bier has worked with students from almost every school and college at Mizzou and his EA students (past and present) have seen incredible results, including being listed on the INC. 500, purchasing two multimillion-dollar companies and more. Outside of the EA and EQ, Dr. Bier is the director of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization's student chapter and the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans.
In all, the Entrepreneurial Educator Summit successfully gave educators across the UM System the chance to expand their own toolkits so they might better serve our students. New ideas and collaborative learning strategies from the EES will enhance UM System student entrepreneurial education in the coming year, and for many years to come.