The Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy participated in Global Entrepreneurship Week on Tuesday with a luncheon featuring Janie Barrera, president and CEO of Accion Texas. As part of the Griggs Center’s Entrepreneur Speaker Series, the event also served as a opportunity for community members to interact on campus and for the Springboard Elevator Pitch finalists to be announced.
Because Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald had a last-minute scheduling conflict, Anthony Williams, chief of auxiliary services officer and member of the Abilene City Council gave a proclamation on entrepreneurship in the Abilene community on Archibald’s behalf.
“Economic growth has been tied directly to the success of entrepreneurs,” said Williams. “We have benefited greatly from everyday use of break-through innovations developed and brought to market by the creativity of entrepreneurs.”
Other local community members and students from organizations such as Highland Church of Christ, Wildcat Ventures, West Texas Innovation Network, Community Foundation, United Way and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attended the luncheon.
Accion Texas is based in San Antonio and manages the nation’s largest micro-lending portfolio. Barrera shared insight on the micro-finance industry and the lending process as well as her own experiences as an entrepreneur.
“Successful entrepreneurs don’t have watch,” said Barrera. “They live and breathe their business. They have the will to think about nothing else.”
Brandon Avedikian, graduate student in the Masters of Accountancy program from Fresno, Calif., is vice president and CFO of Wildcat Ventures, the student-run company within the Griggs Center. Avedikian said he thought Barrera brought a unique perspective to the lending world.
“I had never heard of a not-for-profit lender before,” he said. “Her strategy of being able to be self-sustaining as a non-profit was impressive and inspiring.”
After Barrera’s keynote address, Dr. Jim Litton, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and director of the Griggs center, announced the Springboard Elevator Pitch finalists which can be found here: http://acuoptimist.com/2013/11/elevator-pitch-picks-entrepreneur-finalists/