By Laura Acuff, Opinion Editor
Harvard graduate and entrepreneur Dr. Chris Kersey will speak at the second annual SpringBoard Ideas Challenge awards dinner April 25. Challenge winners will be announced at the dinner and subsequently awarded up to $40,000 for business plan submissions.
Kersey serves as managing member and partner of Camden Partners, a national private equity firm, and will speak on the topic of “What they don’t teach at Harvard about entrepreneurship,” a subject that should be relevant to students of all majors, said Ryan Stephen, senior finance major from Houston and SpringBoard student planner.
“Regardless of what you get into, small business and business in general plays a role in pretty much anything you’re going to do that’s going to send you a paycheck every month,” Stephen said.
Kersey’s bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, master’s degree from the Harvard Business School and M.D. degree from the Emory University School of Medicine combine with more than 11 years of experience in the health care and life science industries to provide an entrepreneurial expertise valuable to awards dinner attendees, said Matt Boisvert, assistant dean for marketing operations and instructor of marketing.
“He’s bringing not just a business perspective, but also as a medical doctor, he has a background in health care; it’s a very rich background,” Boisvert said.
Stephen believes whether students or community members, all people want to live life to the fullest, a goal that requires turning passion into adequate funding and a job, he said.
“That’s something that Chris Kersey is great at, is capturing that passion and turning that into the way that you support yourself,” Stephen said. “He’s taken something that he’s passionate about, and he’s very experienced and turned that into business.”
Open to students and faculty and the Abilene community, Stephen said the dinner should offer interns and contest entrants valuable exposure to potential investors and individuals who could offer constructive advice.
“It’s also good for those students that community members know ACU is excited about innovation, excited about being on the cutting edge of things, specifically in this case of entrepreneurship,” Stephen said. “That’s beneficial for the community’s view of us.”
The awards dinner will take place at 7 p.m. on April 25 in the Hunter Welcome Center, with the doors opening at 6 p.m. to allow attendees to view this year’s entries. Tickets cost $15 per plate and may be purchased online at http://www.springboardchallenge.com/index.php/awards-dinner. Contest participants’ tickets are included in the registration fee.
SpringBoard Ideas Challenge is an annual mini-business plan competition open to students and faculty and the Abilene community.
Boisvert said he hopes the contest and awards dinner will contribute to Abilene’s local economic condition.
“Fundamentally, the desire is to keep the students that we train here, to keep them here in Abilene to help them grow this community,” Boisvert said. “I love this event because it really brings these people together. What’s fun is actually what happens in the following months as creative students come together and build on each others’ ideas.”