Berry to host annual student enterprise conference

Zachary Woodworth, Campus Carrier Features Editor

Berry faculty and alumni will be speaking at the annual Spark enterprise conference that will be hosted on campus on Feb. 27 and 28.

The conference is hosted by the Berry Student Enterprises program and is dedicated to teaching students about entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities.

Associate professor of Spanish David Slade and Berry alumna Sydney Hulebak (C 2014)  will be leading a panel on social innovation.The conference is open to both students and members of the public. The price to attend is $55 but is only $15 for Berry students.

                                                     Poster courtesy of Berry College Student Enterprises

“Social innovation takes the same fire that is found in business and fuels the hope and desire to do good,” Hulebak said.

Slade is the co-manager of Non-Profit Strategic Services for the Berry College Student Enterprise program. Hulebak is the co-founder of Lion’s Thread, a non-profit company in Uganda that makes and sells bowties. 

Hulebak and Brin Enterkin (C12) co-founded Lion’s Thread to help provide jobs to women in Uganda. Bowties are made by Ugandan women out of African textiles and sold online. Profits from the sales go towards The African SOUP, a school in Uganda founded by Enterkin that provided education for over 300 Ugandan children.

“If you buy our product, you’re not only supporting jobs for women, you’re supporting education for the community,” Hulebak said.

Junior Haley Hastings is the Special Events Manager for the Student Enterprises. She is responsible for organizing all events for the program, including the Spark conference.

“The idea for the conference developed from what we have witnessed within the enterprise program and how it all started with a simple spark,” Hastings said. “Our hope is that as people leave the conference their individual sparks will be ignited.”

The keynote speaker is John Coleman, executive at leading investment management company Invesco. He will be speaking at a dinner on Friday, and will speak again on Saturday.

Other guest speakers include Mosaic Consulting owner Michael Williams  and founder and president of Goodwin Investments Tim Goodwin. Mosaic International is consulting company that provides a variety of legal services to the business community. Goodwin Investment provides investment services and financial planning.

Williams and Goodwin will lead a panel on Saturday on strategic entrepreneurship.

“My hopes through this (conference) are to draw a larger audience to the program and educate the outside community what we’re trying to accomplish through our entrepreneurial initiatives,” Hastings said.

Berry currently has 16 student-run businesses in its entrepreneurship program, making and selling a range of products from beef to woven products like scarves and rugs.

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