Fourth District U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler will serve as the guest host of the University of Central Missouri’s 2012 Missouri Business Conference, slated for Sept. 26.
This will be the second year in a row that Hartzler has officiated over the conference. Sponsored by the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies and the UCM Entrepreneur Zone, the event features 25 business leaders and entrepreneurs leading five panel discussions on topics ranging from planning for starting a business, generating revenue, targeting revenues, being prepared and networked and increasing processes and decreasing costs.
Hartzler spokesman Steve Walsh said the event is a boon to Missouri small businesses due to the opportunities for networking and for new startup owners to learn “best practices” from people with a proven track record in running a small business.
“I think it offers a major advantage for people interested in creating jobs and getting Missouri back on track economically. It brings entrepreneurs together to share their best business practices with people who are starting a business, or they have started and lost a business and what to try again,” Walsh said. “This helps them and it also helps people who have never run a business before but they have thought about it, and this is the inspiration that will help them get their dream launched.”
Hartzler will join UCM President Charles Ambrose in the presentation of awards for the “Big Idea” competition. The contest pits individuals or teams of UCM students from a variety of degree fields against one another, with judges picking the best innovative idea, proposed product or service from among the student entries.
“There are some outstanding student entrepreneurs who will be recognized,” Walsh said. “It is amazing what the students come up with.”
Terry Nixon, a consultant to the UCM Entrepreneur Zone, one of 10 campus innovation centers across the state, said about 25 teams are competing in this year’s challenge, with final judging taking place on Thursday. He said ideas are judged on creativity, innovation, viability and presentation, and five projects will go on to be recognized.
“Basically, we are trying to encourage student entrepreneurship and innovation campus wide,” Nixon said. “They don’t necessarily need to know how to accomplish them, but we want them thinking about how they work.”
The event is free, and lunch will be provided. Participants are asked to register online at ucmo.edu/
bizconf, or by calling 660-543-8388. Registration deadline is Friday.