Award recognizes students with demonstrated innovation, originality and entrepreneurial spirit
COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri System Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Steve Graham presented the Student Entrepreneur of the Year award to Connor Hall, a senior majoring in business administration at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Hall was surprised with the award during the MU Entrepreneurship Alliance annual banquet held on Friday, April 15.
The award, which includes a $2,500 prize, recognizes students who have demonstrated innovation, originality and entrepreneurial spirit in the development of processes, products or technologies of commercial potential and/or of benefit to the University of Missouri.
Hall is from Chesterfield, Missouri, and will graduate in May from the MU Trulaske College of Business with a degree in business with an emphasis in finance and a minor in entrepreneurship. Having served as the president of MU Entrepreneurs for the past three years, Hall has proven himself a strong supporter of student entrepreneurship. Throughout his time at MU, he has launched six companies, won the national Dream Big America competition, placed third in the Columbia Startup Weekend competition and was awarded first place in the Ignition Pitch Competition.
Most recently Hall established EpicEd, a gaming company that enables middle and high school students to grow socially, mentally and physically, with the former dean of the MU College of Education, Daniel Clay. They conducted successful summer gaming camps last year to test concepts and pricing. Since then, the company has attracted $200,000 in investment capital and has made plans to expand to the St. Louis and Chicago areas. Upon graduation, Hall plans to work for EpicEd full-time.
“Of the thousands of students I’ve worked with in my 20-plus years in higher education I can say that indeed, Connor’s entrepreneurial spirit is one of a kind,” Clay wrote in his letter of nomination. “His drive to succeed, creative approach to opportunities and his ability to execute are all characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.”
Among his companies are Allegiance eSports, a professional eSports organization competing in the Halo Championship Series, and eSports Booth, a merchandise platform for professional eSports team and player apparel. Hall is currently working on the development of three other businesses and prides himself on being a resource for other aspiring entrepreneurs through his work with Regional Economic Development Inc. and the Small Business and Technology Development Center.
“My career has started well before graduation, and it is an exciting time to see the high growth of all these companies,” Hall said. “As these companies progress, I plan on using my experience in eSports to better the industry as a whole by making competitive gaming more professional and legitimate.”
“Connor has clearly demonstrated innovativeness, originality, and the passion one would expect from a serial entrepreneur,” wrote nominator Gregory Bier, director of MU’s Entrepreneurship Alliance. “His legacy as a student-entrepreneur has truly set an example for other students and has been a benefit to the University of Missouri.”
Hall will be formally recognized by UM System Interim President Michael Middleton in June during the UM System President’s Awards celebration, an annual recognition of faculty members across the four campuses of the UM System who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the university.
UM System Senior Associate VP for Academic Affairs Steve Graham (left) with Student Entrepreneur of the Year awardee Connor Hall (center) and his nominator and business partner, Daniel Clay.