February 22, 2012

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

UA Event Focuses on Business Activities

Published: Monday, February 20, 2012

Staff report

Entrepreneurship Week 2012 will end with awards banquet

TUSCALOOSA | Entrepreneurship Week 2012 starts today at the University of Alabama and will feature four days of activities. It will culminate with an awards banquet Thursday that recognizes entrepreneurs in various fields from around the state.

“Alabama has one of the friendliest public policy environments for entrepreneurship, according to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council’s Small Business Survival Index 2011,” said the event’s coordinator, Allen Henry, an UA clinical professor of management and CEO of Park Transfer and Storage Inc. of Tuscaloosa.

“The University of Alabama entrepreneurship community wants to reinforce that ranking through a successful and informative observance of Entrepreneurship Week.”

Activities start today with a student concept business pitch competition in which UA students will have two minutes to present their ideas for a new business or nonprofit endeavor to a panel of experts. Winners of the competition will be recognized at Thursday’s banquet.

Student entrepreneurship activities will be the focus Tuesday, with a social entrepreneurship concept pitch featuring student-produced videos, the debut of an Entrepreneurship Week promotional video and an evening panel discussion on social entrepreneurship.

On Wednesday morning, a breakfast for owners of local small businesses who would like to do business with the University of Alabama will be held in the North Recruiting Room of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Managers from UA’s purchasing department will be on hand to answer questions and give advice. The event is free, but preregistration is required. Call 205-348-6336 to register.

Brittney Brown of Belladora LLC, Mick Wright of Game Day Tents LLC and Whitney Hough of Applied Touring LLC will discuss their experiences in starting a small business as part of a panel from 2-3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Lecture Room at the Child Development Research Center.

Thursday will focus on entrepreneurial education, with seminars from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bryant Conference Center. Topics will include “Profitable Growth through Innovation” and “Successful Family Business Growth Cycles.” Lunch will be served. There is a $199 charge for the workshops, which also covers a wine and cheese reception at 5:30 p.m. and the awards ceremony and banquet at 6:30 p.m.

The fee for the awards ceremony and banquet, if purchased separately, is $49.

To register, call 205-348-3000 or visit http://www.entrepreneurshipweek.ua.edu/.

The 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year award winners are:

§         High School Entrepreneurial Educator: Terri Sellers, a Hueytown High School teacher, who has taught entrepreneurship for more than 25 years.

§         Social Entrepreneur of the Year: Marsha Sprayberry, founder of Tuscaloosa’s Project Blessings, a nonprofit that helps repair homes for the needy. The organization also opened an all-volunteer-staffed relief center and drove supplies to underserved rural counties after the April 27th tornado.

§         Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Chris Koerner, founder and owner of Phone Restore, Huntsville, who started a telephone repair business while a student at the University of Alabama. The business has expanded from one location on 15th Street in Tuscaloosa to six locations — five in Alabama and one in California — over two years.

§         Female Entrepreneur of the Year: Kelly Bownes, founder and owner of Birmingham’s MedPlan Recruiting Inc., a physician recruitment and medical staff planning firm.

  • For more information, visit http://commerce.alabama.gov
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