Entrepreneurship Week to have lectures, panels

Cassie Buchman, Administration Editor

Franchising and other aspects of business will be highlighted through Entrepreneurship Week, Monday through Friday.

Marko Grünhagen, the director of the sustainable entrepreneurship through education and development, or SEED center, said Entrepreneurship Week is a week to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit.

Speakers and entrepreneurs are brought to Eastern to help students throughout the week.

“This is an opportunity to see, to interact with, to ask questions to people that are actually entrepreneurs in the real world,” Grünhagen said.

Elyse Podwojski, a graduate student studying business administration, said when she was an undergraduate student, entrepreneurship week was something she looked forward to.

“I liked getting information from real businesses and seeing what they’ve achieved and accomplished,” Podwojski said.

Podwojski said she remembers going to the panels and thinking it was a good learning experience.

She said it is always valuable to hear business perspectives from other businesses and the challenges they’ve overcome.

Two big events are planned for the week, starting with Bob Kehoe, the CEO of Leverage Marketing a digital marketing agency, giving a lecture called “Flyer in a Hot Dog Stand: How a Little Detour Led to Big Success,” at 5 p.m. Monday in Room 2030 in Lumpkin Hall.

Kehoe is an alumnus of Eastern and will be talking about his path to becoming an entrepreneur.

Thursday will be a panel on  “The In’s and Out’s of Franchising: What you Need to Know.” At 5 p.m. in room 2030 in Lumpkin Hall.

Franchising is when individual restaurants or units are owned by others and they have to pay a royalty or cut of the profits to the bigger company.

Speakers will also be from companies like Midas, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Dairy Queen, as well as the Franchise Bureau Chief in the Office of the Attorney General.

“Many of our students may have some sort of idea what franchising is, they’ve eaten at a McDonald’s, they’ve stayed at a Holiday Inn, but they may not really understand the business model,” Grünhagen said. “What we’re trying to do is give them a primer on franchising.”

The students can ask questions and a moderator will be at the panel.

Grünhagen said franchising is the world’s fasted growing business model and about half of all businesses in the service sector are franchised.

“For someone who is going to operate in the business world, this is something they need to understand,” Grünhagen said.

Presenters are chosen to be from recognizable brand names and local content.

The Dairy Queen owner from is from Mattoon and the hotel owner lives in Charleston as well.

The SEED center also has special weeks throughout the year, such as accounting week.

“There is an event called Global Entrepreneurship week, and that is later in November,” Grünhagen said.

Grünhagen said the entrepreneurship week activities usually have a packed audience.

Grünhagen said for many of the presenters, coming down to Eastern is a trip.

“When they come here, we want to make sure we show our students are actually interested in listening to them,” Grünhagen said. “There’s nothing worse than bringing someone in from hundreds of miles away and have them speak in front of an empty audience.”

Grünhagen said the events are typically well attended and the event is for anyone to attend.

Podwojski said entrepreneurship week was one of the more fun weeks.

“I think a lot of people look forward to this week,” Podwojski said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]