Category: Alumni

Ben Jones (ECON’92) to Give VCU Business Undergraduate Commencement Address

Ben Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alumnus Ben Jones will give the VCU School of Business Undergraduate Programs Commencement Address in a ceremony at the Siegel Center on Saturday, May 13.

Jones is the chief regulatory relations officer for Wells Fargo and serves in regulatory compliance risk management. His group is responsible for the RCRM enterprise regulatory coordination function and the RCRM Regulatory Resolution Management Office. Before joining Wells Fargo in 2014, Jones served as the head of regulatory affairs for Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Americas, for four years. Prior to that, he was the regulatory relations coordinator for Citigroup Global Compliance for five years. Jones began his career in 1992, when he joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond as a bank examiner, and was formally commissioned in 1997. He worked in a variety of areas, including bank examinations, surveillance and monitoring, and risk and policy, during his more than 14-year tenure with the Federal Reserve Bank.

He is based in San Francisco and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics, summa cum laude, from Virginia Commonwealth University.

For ceremony details, see business.vcu.edu/graduation

Strengthening the herd: School of Business program connects students and mentors

Strengthening the herd: School of Business program connects students and mentors

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By Anthony Langley

“I’ve always believed that when we meet new people we learn from their lives, and when we add that to our experiences, we move forward and become better,” says Rita Saleem, a senior studying in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business.

In her final year at VCU, she signed up to for the CONNECT mentoring program (formerly Ram to Ram), where she was paired with a mentor in her field of study, human resources. The only thing she regrets about joining CONNECT is that she didn’t do it sooner.

The business school’s mentoring program provides a way for students to cultivate professional relationships with alumni and friends of the university before they enter the workplace. Students and their mentors connect in a variety of ways, including attending professional events, talking by phone and exchanging emails. Mentors provide valuable resume and interview critiques along with information to help students attain their career goals.

The program, started in 2010, operates through a partnership between the VCU Business Alumni Society and the school’s Office of Student and Alumni Engagement. The mentoring program is one of two ways that students and professionals can engage with each other in a one-on-one setting. The second program, EXPLORE, pairs students with volunteers for informational interviews, where students can research, through conversation, different career paths. Both CONNECT and EXPLORE have grown significantly in the past few years, as more students, like Saleem, recognize the value of connecting with alumni. This year, CONNECT had 105 mentors and 111 students participate.

“No matter how old you are, I think it’s good to have a mentor,” says Hamilton Bryan (B.S.’13/B), a customer service administrator for Porvair Filtration Group Ltd. in Ashland, Virginia.

Bryan enrolled in the School of Business as an adult after being in the workforce for many years. Though he was initially worried about the transition from professional to student, he credits the faculty at the school for removing any doubts he had.

“There’s really a concerted effort from everyone there to make sure that you succeed,” he says. “When I found out about [CONNECT], I thought this would be another opportunity to help someone else.”

Bryan, who’s in his second year as a CONNECT mentor, says he emphasizes to students the importance of setting goals and working toward them. Teaching students to think first and understand the action they’re about to take, instead of charging head in, makes all the difference in both life and their professional careers, he says.

The program is about providing support as students prepare to make their transition from school to career, he adds. “It shows students that there are people that are here for you, that you can come to, that have something to offer.”

Local consultant Nancie Wingo also serves as a mentor for CONNECT and says networking and making professional connections before entering the workplace is the key to opening up new doors for students. While not a VCU graduate, Wingo is among a growing number of local business professionals eager to support the business school and its students.

“I’m a huge supporter and fan of VCU, and I credit [VCU] for a lot of the positive things going on in Richmond,” Wingo says. “I jumped at the chance to be a mentor. It’s a great program for everyone involved.”

Though it is her first year with the program, for her, mentoring a student is very similar to her work as a professional coach. In her business, Wingo Coaching, she works collaboratively with her clients to create a plan of action and achieve results.

“I believed I had something to contribute,” she says. CONNECT “gave me the opportunity to work with a student and help them create or improve their own plans to get them where they want to be professionally.”

Wingo was paired with Saleem, who serves as president of SHRM@VCU and was looking for a way to gain real-world experience in human resources instead of just reading about it in textbooks. During her time with Wingo, Saleem honed her interviewing skills, realized the importance of networking and outlined the steps she needs to take to reach her career goals.

“We shared the ways we go about achieving goals,” Saleem says. “Even though we work differently, I think we both found new ways to try and accomplish things.”

Wingo agrees and says she, too, benefited from the mentoring process.

“We’re from different generations, we have different experiences, and I can learn just as much from her as she can from me,” she says.

For both Bryan and Wingo, CONNECT gave them the chance to share their experiences and skills with students preparing to enter the workforce. Both are enthusiastic about coming back for another year and are excited for the program’s future.

“I want [to mentor] more students,” Bryan says with a smile. “There are so many students who want to be a part of this. I’m just glad I can keep making these connections.”

To learn more about CONNECT and EXPLORE, or for more information on becoming a mentor, emailramtoram@vcu.edu or visit go.vcu.edu/ramtoram.

— Anthony Langley is a VCU senior majoring in mass communications.

CEOs Talk Local Innovation at Investors Circle Event

Nov 2015Investors Circle Speakers
Investors Circle speakers Peyton Jenkins of Alton Lane, Dave Cuttino of Reservoir Distillery, Rebecca Hough of Evatran, and Avrum Elmakis of Best Bully Sticks

From local innovation to global disruption: Richmond Companies that are redefining their industries.

That was the exciting topic the evening of November 10th, where Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business Dean, Ed Grier, and Impact Makers’ Vice President of Business Strategy, Rodney Willett, welcomed guests to an energetic reception at local business, Impact Makers.

VCU School of Business alumna Kathleen Burke Barrett and Impact Makers CEO Michael Pirron
VCU School of Business alumna Kathleen Burke Barrett and Impact Makers CEO Michael Pirron

The reception featured guest speakers from four local firms, including: Peyton Jenkins, Co-founder of Alton Lane; Avrum Elmakis, CEO of Best Bully Sticks; Rebecca Hough, CEO and Co-founder of Evatran; and David Cuttino, Co-founder of Reservoir Distillery. The discussion was moderated by VCU School of Business’ Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Programs, Jay Markiewicz. Over 125 Investors Circle members and friends of the VCU School of Business were in attendance to participate in networking and hearing from these innovative corporate speakers.

Dean Ed Grier began the program by speaking about the importance of the Investors Circle and its donors, and also thanked faculty, staff, and School of Business Foundation Trustees who were present. Dean Grier also introduced moderator Jay Markiewicz who led the panel in several rounds of word association, including “responsibility” and “failure.” This unique and fun program format lead to audience involvement as they were asked to toss out new words for association from the panel. Attendees were treated to many interesting insights into what makes these four disruptive and innovative companies tick. VCU School of Business Executive Director of the School of Business Foundation and Corporate Relations, Laura Kottkamp, closed the evening with motivational and grateful remarks.

Helayne Spivak, Director of the VCU Brandcenter with VCU Business faculty David Downs and wife Meg.
VCU Brandcenter Director Helayne Spivak with VCU Business faculty David Downs and wife Meg.

All in attendance, including student and staff volunteers, networked over the length of the event in riveting conversation. Prior to the formal program, guests were able to learn more about each of the local companies by visiting displays around the event space. Offerings included mannequins wearing custom suits produced by Alton Lane, a video from Evatran about wireless charging technology, a table with some of the top selling dog treats from Best Bully Sticks, and a sampling station of bourbon and rye and wheat whiskey from Reservoir Distillery. Some of the insightful thoughts that could be overheard by the attendees included the state of local business, importance of community involvement, and expanding business globally. Overall, it was a very engaging and educational evening with a plethora of networking opportunities for the many in attendance.

Individual membership costs for the Investors Circle begin at $1,000 and Corporate at $2,500. For more information, please visit go.vcu.edu/InvestorsCircle or contact Katy Beishem at 804.827.0075 or kbeisheim@vcu.edu

-Article by Dylan Chaplin, student intern

Thomas Dorsey (B.S.’75/B) honored at VCU Alumni Stars ceremony

Alumnus, Thomas Dorsey (B.S.’75/B) was honored among sixteen of  the most accomplished VCU alumni at the recent Stars ceremony.

“In art, commerce, education, service and health care, VCU alumni are solving, discovering and enhancing the quality of our lives,” said Gordon McDougall, associate vice president for university alumni relations. “They have become known for their commitment to excellence—excellence in their work and in how they live their lives. Our stellar graduates are proud of their university, and we are proud of them.”

 

Dorsey (1)Thomas J. Dorsey
1975 Bachelor of Science
School of Business

A serious weightlifter, avid pool player and inveterate globe-trotter, Thomas J. Dorsey is a man of many talents. As president and co-founder of Dorsey, Wright & Associates, Dorsey prefers a rigorous, no-nonsense style to sizing up investments, with a top-down, objective approach that relies on the Point and Figure price-charting method popularized by Charles Dow in the late 1800s.

An investing pro with 41 years of experience, Dorsey has written nine books based on the Point and Figure technique, which have been translated in a number of languages. He’s been a regular guest on Fox’s “Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast” and “Bulls & Bears” programs and frequently speaks to audiences worldwide on topics related to the stock market, technical analysis and momentum investing.

Looking back, though, Dorsey says, his success was a longshot.

“You see, all my life I would have been voted the least likely to succeed,” says Dorsey, who has dyslexia. With a high school GPA that hovered around 1.5, Dorsey started at Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Virginia, on probation. He flunked out the first semester and spent the next four years in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He continued to work on his studies, teaching himself to eventually read at the college level and finished one final semester at Richard Bland before transferring to VCU.
“My experience at VCU was intoxicating to say the least,” Dorsey says. “Every class I took got me closer to that coveted degree I was never expected to attain. I learned that one can have difficulties learning in the younger years and still attain great success.”
Dorsey credits the lessons he learned in Economics 101 for serving as the spark that later prompted him to leave a senior vice president position at Wheat First Securities to start Dorsey, Wright & Associates. “I still mention in every talk I do, how Economics 101 changed my life,” he says. “Once I graduated from VCU, I realized I could do anything in the world. If I was asked to be president of the United States, I was ready.”

Dorsey started his career as a stockbroker at Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith but planned to have his own company by age 40. In 1987, at age 39, he started Dorsey, Wright & Associates, which grew to become a world leader in supplying technical research services to the financial industry. Just this year, he sold the company to NASDAQ for $225 million.

“I started Dorsey, Wright & Associates with $90,000 in borrowed money, a pregnant wife and two young boys. All we had in the beginning was a vision and hope,” he says. “I’ve learned that great success is in every one of us.”

“My experience at VCU was intoxicating to say the least. Every class I took got me closer to that coveted degree I was never expected to attain.”

 

See the full VCU Alumni Stars article here.

Why I Give – Caley Cantrell

Caley_Cantrell

Caley Cantrell is a faculty member at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter and head of the strategy track. Prior to transitioning from adjunct faculty to full-time faculty, Caley built an impressive résumé working for such prestigious agencies as JWT and The Martin Agency. Her position at the Brandcenter blends her experience in the ad world with academic rigors challenging current graduate students in the program. She has worked with student teams on projects for Goodwill Industries, Audi of America, C-K, The Ritz-Carlton, Tribeca Film Festival, Oreo and The Department of Defense.

 Caley has been a consistent donor to the Brandcenter for more than five years, including making gifts to fund annual scholarships and designating the Brandcenter in her estate plans. In 2014, she took her commitment to her students one step further and endowed a scholarship for students in the strategy track.

 Why do you give?

Working closely with students as I do, you see that they’re investing a lot of time and money in being here. Most quit their jobs to come to the Brandcenter because it’s such a demanding and immersive program. I’m proud that I’m able to give students a “leg-up” on their education.

I think I was like a lot of people who thought that making an ongoing donation was beyond their checkbook. I didn’t think I could make what I thought was a significant enough donation, but as I found, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought. When you think about students who are making sacrifices to pay their tuition, even a little bit can help make a difference for them.

Before I endowed the Cantrell Scholarship, I had been giving to Brandcenter annual scholarships. After my mom passed away in 2013, I decided I wanted to create something with permanence that would also honor my mother, whom had been an educator. An endowed scholarship did both, and as a faculty member I believe in our program, so I decided to put my money where my mouth was.

Did you have any experiences as a faculty member that helped to inspire your philanthropy?

We’re a small program, so I’ve been able to build strong relationships my students over the years. Overall, a lot of students come into this program with a sense of what they’ll be doing, but it’s still pretty uncertain. Over the course of the two years they’re with us, you see them struggle, and then they turn a corner where you see them click and develop this confidence; I look forward to seeing that change.

Every student is different. Some may be very confident in their work, but scared to present, or they may have ideas and just need organization; I find that growth to be fascinating to watch.

Do you have any advice for current students or recent graduates?

We have a very supportive alumni base who are eager to participate in our program and interact with our students. I want to encourage our alumni to please keep it up, as you cannot underestimate, what might seem like an easy piece of encouragement, can do to motivate a current student.

Read about previously featured friends and alumni:

Erica Billingslea
Trish and Jon Hill
Rose Gilliam

25th Real Estate Trends Conference

Erik Qualman, who spawned the “Socialnomics” movement with his book of the same name, will speak at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business’ 25th annual Real Estate Trends Conference.

The conference, organized by the Kornblau Real Estate Program in the School of Business, will be held Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Doors open at 12:45 p.m. with registration and networking. Conference sessions run from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by closing remarks and a reception.

Called a “Digital Dale Carnegie” and “the Tony Robbins of Tech,” Qualman is the author of “Socialnomics” and “Digital Leader,” the latter earning him the distinction of second “Most Likable Author in the World” behind Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. His latest book, “What Happens on Campus Stays on You Tube,” explains the art and science behind the development and impact of digital reputations.

Joining Qualman are real estate and economics experts Mary Ludgin, Ph.D., Maurice Jones, J.D., and Michael Rubinger.

Ludgin is a managing director at Heitman, where she serves as the firm’s director of global investment research. She is a partner of the firm and holds a seat on its investment, valuation and management committee.

As Virginia secretary of commerce and trade, Jones utilizes Virginia’s assets to solidify its position as one of the preeminent places to live, work and conduct business.

Rubinger, president and chief executive officer of Local Initiatives Support Corp. since 1999, has more than 40 years of experience in the housing and economic development fields. Prior to joining LISC, he was executive vice president of the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the largest private foundations in the country.

An annual event where speakers discuss trends affecting the real estate and business economies, the Real Estate Trends Conference is expected to attract more than 1,400 people from the academic and professional ranks, representing segments such as banking, engineering, investments, consulting, government, brokerage and appraisal.

For more information, including registration details, visit the conference’s website at http://www.realestate.vcu.edu/.


About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region, VCU Health is comprised of five health sciences schools (Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy), VCU Medical Center, Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, VCU Massey Cancer Center and Virginia Premier. For more, please visitwww.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.

Trio of VCU Business alumni take their tenant-matching startup to Silicon Valley

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From left to right, Brandon Anderson, James Barrett and Chris Stewart.

Two years ago, James BarrettBrandon Anderson and Chris Stewart each took the day off from their respective jobs to meet in Barrett’s Richmond-area garage and discuss their future. That day, Tenant Turner — a website that matches rental property managers with quality tenants — was born.

Almost exactly two years later, the trio of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business graduates found themselves in Mountain View, California, having been accepted into Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator, one of the world’s best business accelerators, which has helped launch a number of successful companies such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Reddit.

“It’s an honor for Tenant Turner to be selected into the program,” Barrett said. “In addition to the investment, they also provide specialized mentorship and access to the entire YC network, which includes vendors, YC [alumni] and investors. With access to new investors, we hope to be able to raise more money faster the next time we open a fundraising round.”

Since 2005, Y Combinator has funded more than 800 startups valued at more than $30 billion.

Twice a year, YC operates a three-month session in which it invites selected startups to Silicon Valley to get their companies into the best shape possible and refine their investor pitches. At the end of each session, the entrepreneurs present their plans to an audience of specially selected prestigious investors.

Tenant Turner met with about two dozen investors, some of whom have already committed to invest. Perhaps more valuable than the monetary investments is access to an elite network of mentors and YC alumni.

“There’s really no better place to be for a new company trying to get jump-started,” Stewart said. “It’s somewhat surreal to be going through that process. The advice is direct, useful and comes from people who have been there before. … YC is also amazing from the perspective of the network effect. Hundreds of companies have gone through YC and even as a current batch company, you feel the sense of camaraderie and know that even in the future there’s an amazing network you can tap into.”

While most startups spend several weeks preparing their application for YC, the process for Tenant Turner was more of a whirlwind. After making a quick pitch to the Rise of the Rest investment group when it came through Richmond this spring, the trio was encouraged to apply to the YC.

“Joining for us was a really quick process,” Stewart said. “Thousands of companies apply for every batch — nearly 7,000 for this summer — and only 106 were accepted. We were a late application, as it really wasn’t on our radar, but it was suggested we apply. So we did, and were flown out to have a second interview in person a few weeks later. We found out maybe an hour or two later that we were accepted and that effectively the program began the next day.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.10.30 PM“We very quickly needed to … simply restart our lives 3,000 miles away from home. It’s been a challenging experience, mostly being away from our families and our home, but one we’re determined to make worthwhile,” Stewart said.

Making the experience easier is the comfort the partners have with one another. More than a decade ago, high school friends Anderson and Barrett both studied information systems at VCU, where Stewart tutored them in Java. They became friends outside of school, years later serving as groomsmen in each other’s weddings.

“A lot of our bond was created during our time together at VCU,” Barrett said. “Our long friendship and the respect that we have for each other has made this journey incredibly enjoyable.”

Similarities abound between the three. Each knew at relatively early ages that they wanted to go into business for themselves. Anderson, in particular, seemed destined for an entrepreneurship career.

“At a young age I had a talent for drawing, which I used to draw logos of fictitious companies I pretended I had,” he said. “I created ‘business cards’ and wrote company newsletters. I made and sold friendship bracelets at day care. And I regret to admit there was a period of time in fifth grade where I carried not a backpack but a briefcase.”

Their shared interests endured well past their school days. After graduating from VCU, each alumnus owned rental properties, an experience that often proved frustrating.

“There are plenty of sites to list a rental like Craigslist and Zillow but no tools that truly solved our No. 1 problem: finding quality tenants quickly,” Barrett said. They all experienced the pain involved in going from a tenant moving out to another moving in, Stewart said, adding that everything that needs to happen in between can be very time consuming. With careers, families and children, taking time away to focus on turning over a property was inconvenient. With their software backgrounds and experience in the tech industry, they knew they could create a better process. That conviction led to the creation of Tenant Turner.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.10.20 PM

“We shared a passion for the problem and had the complementary skills to build the leasing software of our dreams,” Barrett said.

Tenant Turner adds rentals to its site and then resubmits them to dozens of rental websites, pre-qualifying all tenant leads online or by phone before scheduling showings for the best prospects. Before Tenant Turner, Barrett said, property owners and managers would have to input listings into multiple sites, field all of the phone calls and emails, and track showings in a spreadsheet. With Tenant Turner, they now have one central hub for all of their leasing activity.

“We’re in growth mode right now and expect to raise more money, hire more employees and acquire more customers,” he said. “Our mission is to make happier, more confident renters, owners and property managers by improving the leasing experience. We’re off to a good start but have so much we can do to live that mission.”

With 43 million rental properties in the United States alone, Anderson said, there is plenty of opportunity for growth.

 

Subscribe to the weekly VCU News email newsletter at http://newsletter.news.vcu.edu/ and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Thursday.

2014-2015 Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Awards

At the Faculty and Staff meeting on Tuesday, August 18th, Professor Laura Razzolini announced the winners of the 2014-2015 Dean’s Teaching Excellence Awards.

The 2014-2015 Committee was composed by Peter Aiken, Brian Brown, Pam Burch, Donna Byrd, and Laura Razzolini.

During the month of January 2015 the committee  ran a poll of the alumni and student body. They received 115 nominations: 67 from alumni and 48 from students. A total of 53 faculty were nominated as excellent teachers.

After carefully reading the alumni and student nominations, analyzing syllabus, data on teaching and teaching evaluations, and reading each faculty member’s writing summary in the FES (teaching section), the Committee identified the following three individuals for the excellence in teaching award:

Alumni most preferred teacher: Rasoul Tondkar, Ph.D., Controllers Executive RoundTable Professor of Accounting

Students and alumni refer to professor Tondkar as “motivating,” “inspirational” and “a truly gifted professor,” “… sort of an icon in the EMBA program.” He always encourages students to persevere. He goes above and beyond what is expected from a university professor to make sure his students will succeed at VCU and in their future life. He demands excellence in the classroom and forces his students to work hard. As a consequence, students are well prepared for “what it takes to be successful in the accounting field.” Several of his PhD students have been awarded outstanding dissertation prizes by the American Accounting Association for work done while at VCU under Dr. Tondkar’ s supervision. Well after graduating, students keep seeking Professor Tondkar’s advice at every step of their career, and he is always supportive and encouraging. Using the words of a 1990 alumnus, “Professor Tondkar transmitted to his students a discipline, a love for learning and a deep respect for the academic profession.”

Best undergraduate & graduate teacher: Robert Andrews, Ph.D., Associate Professor Emeritus of Supply Chain Management and Analytics

“Dr. Andrew is awesome!” “Unfortunately for us, Dr Andrews is planning to soon retire….and the resounding sentiment is that he will be sorely missed.” Dr. Andrews is commended for his teaching qualities: he makes the material understandable; he relates abstract concepts to real life situations; he communicates in a fun, fair and clear style; he shares with the students his personal class notes of exemplary quality; he makes the students understand the data. Dr. Andrews helps his students with academic issues as well as with personal life situations, his door is always open and he listens patiently.  In conclusion, many undergraduate and graduate students agree that “He has been by far the best teacher we have ever had at VCU!”

Most inspiring teacher: Jon Hill, Term Faculty in Accounting

In the words of an alumnus, Professor Hill “is an amazing professor with an outstanding level of commitment to his students, to Beta Alpha Psi and to VCU Business Alumni.” Professor Hill is commended for the large number of classes he teaches and both alumni and students all agree that he “is an inspiration, a mentor and a great professor;” he “shows passion in everything he does and wants his students to really learn.” Professor Hill is famous for his smile and sunny disposition and his level of enthusiasm has led students to a broader and deeper involvement with the School of Business and its mission.

Creating young leaders: Boot camp coaches high school students in entrepreneurship

Thursday, July 23, 2015

On July 18–19, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, along with Junior Achievement of Central Virginia, hosted its first Entrepreneur Bootcamp, a program that coaches rising juniors and seniors at area high schools to think like an entrepreneur.

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, along with Junior Achievement of Central Virginia, recently hosted its first Entrepreneur Bootcamp.

The high school students not only learned the basics of being an entrepreneur, but also directly applied their experience at the boot camp to plan an innovative, budgeted solution to a real community problem, helping VCU continue to deliver on its commitment to community engagement.

“It’s not a simulation. It’s not a case study,” said Jay Markiewicz, executive director of entrepreneurship programs at the VCU School of Business. “It’s, ‘Hey, help us solve some of these problems,’ and, ‘How would you build a business around that?’”

Students, divided into five teams, worked on problems concerning family, school or the public. Teams brainstormed to identify problems within their assigned community and presented their solutions to their parents and a panel of judges, who evaluated the projects and declared a winner.

The winning team recognized that students are hesitant to discuss bullying incidents with administrators and suggested creating an app as a platform to speak out anonymously.

The app would serve as a record of the incidents and notify administrators immediately of the report. The team received gift card prizes amounting to $300.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 3.20.13 PMThe boot camp inspired students to think creatively to address a need and to use entrepreneurship tools to make a difference.

“It’s about an educational experience that gets them to think differently,” said Yedda Stancil, VCU alumni and entrepreneur. “It’s for the students to know that we’re all unique for a purpose and an entrepreneur is a great thing to be if that’s what they are.”

Community sponsors such as Stancil, Junior Achievement, General Electric and Maxx Potential contributed more than 70 percent of the
cost to keep registration fees at a minimum.

“It’s a really great program. I know I learned a lot,” said Tyra Wade, a student at Varina High School and media intern at Capital One. “By next year I would have already started my business, and I’ll come back. Maybe I’ll learn more skills.”

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, along with Junior Achievement of Central Virginia, recently hosted its first Entrepreneur Bootcamp.

 

Subscribe to the weekly VCU News email newsletter at http://newsletter.news.vcu.edu/ and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Thursday.

VCU selected for state’s new VITAL initiative

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business is a member of the Virginia International Trade Alliance, a new initiative announced by Gov. Terry McAuliffe last week.

Under the management of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership,  VITAL will strengthen the commonwealth’s nationally recognized international trade program through formal partnerships with public universities such as VCU, industry associations and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to expand international sales.

“As we continue to recruit new businesses to the commonwealth, we also need to help our existing businesses export their goods and services,” McAuliffe said during the announcement. “International trade is a key part of my plan to create private sector jobs and build a new Virginia economy that is less reliant on the federal government. This new VITAL initiative demonstrates the commonwealth’s commitment to helping existing Virginia businesses succeed in the international marketplace, making our economy even stronger.”

As VITAL partners, VCU and other state universities will identify companies with international business as a corporate strategy and conduct international research to position these companies for global expansion.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 3.15.10 PMExpanding international partnerships is a strategic focus for VCU, and we welcome the opportunity to build on the knowledge and connections we have developed, both internationally and across Virginia, to make VITAL a success.

 Over the past two years, representatives from the VCU School of Business have worked with VEDP and Maurice Jones, secretary of commerce and trade for Virginia, to conceptualize and develop VITAL, said Van R. Wood, Ph.D., Philip Morris Chair in International Business and professor of marketing.

“VITAL, through the faculty-led, student-driven research projects that will analyze world market opportunities for participating Virginia businesses, will not only expand the state’s international scope, enrich participating companies’ revenue streams and grow the state’s tax base, but will also develop the next generation of savvy global business managers  — the students working on VITAL projects — that are so vitally needed today and in the future as globalization continues to gain depth and breadth,” Wood said. “VCU welcomes the opportunity to be a founding member of this truly unique alliance and the significant projects that it portends.”

Alliance goals include growing Virginia exports by $1.6 billion, creating 14,000 trade-supported jobs in five years and increasing the number of companies enrolled in VEDP’s international trade programs.

For more information, visit ExportVirginia.org.

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