iStartup Social Entrepreneurship

The members of Venture Club, Shepard Poverty Program, Generals Development and Community Financial Freedom are hosting a special colloquium on social entrepreneurship this Alumni Weekend. The event, on Friday May 2nd, will feature a panelist of experts discussing current trends in space and challenges facing socially oriented ventures. Following the panel discussion, students will be pitching their own social venture ideas to a panel of judges with the possibility to win funding and consulting services. A Q&A session with the panelists and students participants will follow the pitch competition. We are excited to be co-hosting such an exciting event!

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Congratulations to Matthew Kordonowy!

We are so proud and excited that VC member Matthew Kordonowy has secured a grant for $15,000 from Colgate towards his company, Vern Clothing!

Want to find out more about Vern Clothing?

Founded by a couple of college students with a passion for travel, volunteerism, and entrepreneurship, Vern Clothing’s mission is to help disadvantaged artisans and weavers in remote locations earn fair wages for their handcrafted items.  We do this this by working directly with weaving cooperatives and artisan groups in the Guatemalan highlands to produce items for American shoppers.

The artisans and weavers that we work with don’t have access to markets in Europe and the United States. They are forced to sell their work on the street or market to the few tourists that wander by. It is our mission to connect these artisans with the world so that they can finally get fair wages and achieve a better standard of living.

Ten percent of our profits are sent back to the communities that we purchase our products from. Currently, we support an organization that provide educational opportunities in the Guatemalan highlands. As we expand our business, we will continue to add organizations. 

Congratulations to Matthew!

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W&L Entrepreneurship Summit 2013 a BIG SUCCESS!

The second annual Entrepreneurship Summit was a BIG SUCCESS for alumni entrepreneurs and students.  The event attracted more than 60 alumni and over 200 students. Read more about the Summit.

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MAJOR NEWS: J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship

This is the big news that we have been waiting to share with everyone.  Washington and Lee University announces that its Entrepreneurship Program has been named the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship, thanks to a $2.5 million gift from Leigh and Larry Connolly, of Atlanta. To read more, click here to see the official announcement. We are so excited about the opportunities that Leigh and Larry’s gift will create for our program.

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Milestones and more…

Milestones are important for any entrepreneurial venture.  Since I consider the Entrepreneurship Program at W&L our own startup, I’d like to share a few milestones.  Launching just a few years ago, today our LinkedIn.com group reached 700 members. I recall W&L administrators and faculty telling me when I interviewed for the Johnson Chair that they believed there was a large, untapped group of alumni entrepreneurs who would probably welcome the opportunity to engage with a high quality entrepreneurship program if we built it. Although I knew they were “talking up” the potential for the program, I believed they were correct.  After all, how could a truly exceptional liberal arts school with an equally high quality commerce school not produce great entrepreneurs? As I enter my fifth year at W&L, I could not be happier with the alumni, student, faculty, and administrator support that we’ve received as we continue to build a world-class entrepreneurship program.

Another milestone reached this week is that we have 40 alumni registered for our October 18-19 Entrepreneurship Summit. We’ve already surpassed last year’s registrations and I know we’ll get many more to register in the coming weeks. Please be sure to check out the schedule and sign up soon.

Teaser: By the way…check out the W&L websites for something big to be announced next week…probably Thursday or Friday.  Very exciting!!!

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Summit Registrations and Hotel Rooms

We now have over 30 alum registered for the upcoming Entrepreneurship Summit on October 18-19, 2013. We have some great sessions and speakers scheduled on bootstrapping, launching a technology venture, leveraging social media, protecting intellectual property, and much more.  Throughout the two-day event you’ll have the opportunity to expand your network and in doing so gain access to incredible resources. Please complete the registration form as soon as possible so that we can plan accordingly. Also remember, alumni have the opportunity to pitch their business or business idea. Sign up soon to be considered as a candidate to pitch your business at the Summit.

Book your hotel room now: This is a busy weekend in Lexington and we have reserved a block of  20 rooms at the Holiday Inn Express in Lexington.  Our preferred rate is $129.99 plus tax but these rooms will go fast.  Please call the Lexington Holiday Inn Express at (540) 463-7351 and say that you’re coming for the W&L Entrepreneurship Summit to get these rates.

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Alumni Magazine Article: Check it out!

We hope you’ve had an opportunity to read the latest edition of W&L’s Alumni Magazine.  The magazine features an article on the Entrepreneurship Program and provides some great insights into what we’re doing on and off campus including curriculum, the Business Plan Competition, internships, our Alumni Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, and the Venture Club.  Take a few minutes to read it by clicking here or cut and paste the following link into your browser: http://www.wlumag-digital.com/wlumag/summer_2013#pg24.

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