Students talk with Robbie Melton (second from left), AS’78, director of entrepreneurial innovation for the Maryland Technology Development Corp.
Students, alumni and community members joined together on Nov. 18 and 19 for Entrepreneurship Week, a series of events centered on innovation in business.
Robbie Melton, AS’78, presented the keynote speech on Friday, Nov. 19, highlighting the differences between ideas, inventions and innovations. Melton is the director of entrepreneurial innovation for the Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO). Melton said a spirit of entrepreneurship would benefit a community in myriad ways.
“It spawns new companies, new technologies, jobs; brings money into the state through revenues, investment, taxes,” Melton said. “From those companies, new companies emerge, or existing companies are strengthened to support those new companies. For students, it allows them to see their ideas blossom into real products.”
Recent graduate and business owner Alexander Grgurich, BN’08, hosted a networking event on Thursday, Nov. 18.
Recent graduate and business owner Alexander Grgurich, BN’08, hosted a
networking event on Thursday night, Nov. 18, and a small group of
students met with Melton for a luncheon on Friday.
Tom Smartwood, assistant director of the Buchanan Center for
Entrepreneurial Leadership, organized Thursday’s event. Debra Bishop,
associate professor of practice in management and director of both the
Buchanan Center and the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship Outreach,
spearheaded the Friday events. Bishop said Entrepreneurship Week was a
perfect opportunity to work toward both centers’ goals.
“The networking event provided an opportunity for Drake students and
recent alums to network with entrepreneurs and others in the
entrepreneurship community,” Bishop said. “The Friday keynote with
Robbie Melton, as well as the small group luncheon, provided the perfect
The interest in entrepreneurship is not limited to a week’s events,
Bishop said. Enrollment in a new entrepreneurship minor for non-business
majors is outstripping expectations. About 50 students have already
signed up for courses in the minor, which was approved last spring.
“We opened up a second section of Profiles in Entrepreneurship because
of high demand created by the minor,” Bishop said. “It’s thrilling to
see the range of students signing up for the minor — from pharmacy to
journalism to fine arts. This will provide an incredibly rich
entrepreneurship environment on campus.”