ACU’s second annual Startup Week inspired entrepreneurship the week before Thanksgiving by connecting students of all majors with various entrepreneurs.
Barrett Lewis, student director of Startup Week, said 100 events took place throughout the week. The events, which started at 7 a.m. Monday and continued until 9 p.m. Friday, featured various speakers, workshops and networking opportunities.
The event was put on by ACU’s Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy. It was part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, an annual international event that celebrates innovation in 160 countries. The Griggs Center had to get each event submitted and approved by the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
Lewis, sophomore biochemistry pre-dental major from Abilene, said one of the goals for this year’s event was to include departments and student organizations outside of the College of Business and Administration.
“Knowledge about something other than business is necessary to be an entrepreneur, so we tried to include everyone on campus,” Lewis said.
Along with faculty in the Griggs Center, Lewis worked with student volunteers recruited through the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization Chapel. Other students could get involved by registering for the week or through sessions in their departments. Lewis said although the majority of the students involved were business majors, more students from other departments participated than last year and he expects that number to grow.
Two highlights of the week were the final round of the Springboard Elevator Pitch competition and the CEO Networking Dinner. At the Springboard Elevator Pitch competition, students had the chance to showcase their entrepreneurship. At the networking dinner, students could sit with various alumni. Lewis said he enjoyed the networking dinner because he made connections with alumni.
“It’s cool that they love ACU so much they came back to mentor and share their success,” Lewis said.
Lewis said he is interested in entrepreneurship because he plans to be a dentist and run his own private practice. Startup Week was inspiring to him because he said it showed him there are things to learn even after college.
“I think it’s important for us to have events like that so that we can see there’s a world outside the one we’re in now,” Lewis said. “There’s still a lot of learning to do after you graduate.”
Lewis said there will be ways for students to get involved next year on the steering committee or by going to events. Students can also email ideas for speakers to the Griggs Center.
“There’s so many opportunities to learn about things you may not think you’re interested in,” Lewis said. “But you may discover that you’re interested in something that you didn’t know about before.”
Kate Hegi, a volunteer on the Startup Week committee, said she enjoyed learning from a variety of business owners about how different companies work.
“I learned so many valuable life lessons about the business world and how to really thrive in that while still having a Christian base,” said Hegi, a sophomore marketing major from Fort Worth.
Hegi said students should get involved with the opportunities offered by CEO and the Griggs Center.