Seeking the National Title

Enactus team advances to national semifinals

The Enactus team from the University of Missouri-Kansas City is seeking a national championship in their entrepreneurial competition during the Enactus United States National Exposition at the Kansas City Convention Center May 21-23.

During the first day of competition on May 22, the UMKC team advanced to the national semifinals. The team qualified for the national competition by winning the regional competition in Garden Grove, California, in April. This is the fifth consecutive year the team has qualified for the national competition; UMKC was a national semifinalist in 2016.

Enactus is a global organization for college students who volunteer to develop projects that create positive change through entrepreneurial action. Students describe their projects in multi-media presentations for the competition. The winner of the competition will qualify for the international competition in London this September.

More than 2,000 students, representing more than 100 U.S. colleges, are expected at the Kansas City expo.

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Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Spotlight: Tom McDonnell

In the late 1960s, Kansas City Southern Industries thought that computer data processing might have some legs – and Tom McDonnell had the entrepreneurial drive and innovative thinking to seize the opportunity.

A recent business school graduate at the time, McDonnell led a team of three Kansas City Southern employees who were charged with a potential spinoff venture dubbed DST. He moved quickly to beat out competitors who were larger and better-funded but slower and less-agile. McDonnell invested in the technology to create the first online, real-time mutual fund accounting system. He made up for the company’s small size by using partnerships and joint ventures to magnify their reach, and eventually dominate the industry. Under Tom McDonnell’s stewardship, DST grew to become America’s largest mutual fund servicing firm, a publicly traded company that employs more than 14,000 associates.

Another of McDonnell’s entrepreneurial strengths is an unwavering commitment to good corporate citizenship. He is usually the behind-the-scenes guiding figure, but his footprints are all over Kansas City, from business parks to nonprofits and arts organizations.

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Bloch Scholar Remembers Time at Bloch, Looks toward the Future

Photo by Brandon Parigo, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

As Stephanie Montoya (B.B.A. ’17), prepared to accept her diploma, she reflected on her time as a student striving to achieve her dreams.

“That was the best advice I received as a student,” Montoya said. “To look toward the end goal when in search of motivation.”

Montoya is a member of Bloch Scholars, a program powered by the H&R Block Foundation that provides students an opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, then continue their bachelor’s degree at UMKC. The scholarship awardees receive funds to cover tuition for up to six semesters, a personal coach and encouragement to work towards their dreams.

Before her commencement ceremony, we caught up with Montoya to discuss how Bloch Scholars impacted her education, her memories of the Bloch School and her future plans.

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Bloch Students Win Local CFA Institute Research Challenge

Photo courtesy of Laurian Lytle

A five-student team representing the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City won the local CFA Institute Research Challenge sponsored by the Kansas City chapter of the CFA Institute, an organization of investment professionals.

Team members included Ryan Moazamian, MBA candidate; Hannah Gambrell, MBA candidate; Kyle Harris, MBA candidate; Matthew Hanson, Master of Science in Finance candidate; and Charlotte Gilman, MBA candidate.

“The CFA Institute Research Challenge is by far the best extra-curricular activity I have participated in during my time at UMKC,” Moazamian said. “It’s a tremendous undertaking that provides an extensive amount of both academic and experiential knowledge, both critical when considering a career in finance. The benefits from participating in the research challenge extend into professional development as well, providing opportunities to create key relationships with industry and financial experts, as well as significantly contributing to anyone’s resume.”

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Grace Under Pressure

Photo by Brandon Parigo, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

By Grace Designs wins high-stakes Regnier Venture Creation Challenge

Emily Moon and Kelsey Carlstedt sell handmade women’s clothing online. But the way they see it, they are really in the business of hope.

Their company, By Grace Designs, is a not-for-profit organization. They work with women in Ghana and India in a business they see as a mission to educate, employ, empower and elevate women living in poverty.

On May 5, they stood before a panel of judges – all experienced entrepreneurs – at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and made their case for seed funding. Their winning presentation and business plan earned them the top prize of $20,000 in the 2017 Regnier Venture Creation Challenge.

In Ghana, according to their website, they “employ local seamstresses to educate younger artisans. Each student is given a new sewing machine and the necessary materials to become an expert in her craft. We then employ both the master seamstresses and the newer craftswomen to sew our original line,” using fabrics purchased from local markets.

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UMKC Enactus Advances to National Competition

The UMKC Enactus team continues its tradition of success. The team took top prize at the regional competition in Garden Grove, CA on April 24, qualifying them to compete at the United States National Exposition. For the first time, the national competition is being held right here in Kansas City from May 21-23 at the Kansas City Convention Center.

“We’re thrilled to compete at the national level, but even more excited that we get to do so in our hometown of Kansas City,” said Ben Williams, Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Assistant Director and Enactus Advisor.

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Summer Scholars Taking Applications for Summer 2017 Class

The Summer Scholars Class of 2016

The Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is accepting applications for the 2017 class of Summer Scholars.

Open to all incoming University of Missouri-Kansas City freshmen, sophomores and transfer students, Summer Scholars is a two-week intensive course that prepares participants for their entrepreneurial path. The first half of the course introduces students to entrepreneurial processes, theories and resources, while the second half focuses on venture creation, culminating in a pitch contest.

“This is an opportunity for students to get involved in entrepreneurship and innovation early in their college careers. Whether you are majoring in business, art, engineering, or education, an innovative mindset will help you build value in your career,” said Ben Williams, Regnier Institute Assistant Director. “This is the perfect opportunity to take a fun, fast-paced course, to engage with other high-quality students and to jump start your college career. The fact that everyone is eligible for a scholarship makes it a no-brainer.”

Participants in the Summer Scholars program will receive three credit hours which count toward the Introduction to Entrepreneurship course requirement. Each student is eligible to apply for a scholarship up to the cost of the course.

For frequently asked questions, a program schedule, or to apply, visit bit.ly/regniersummerscholars.

To hear about the experience in the words of program graduates, watch this video.

Celebrating Excellence

UMKC Faculty and Staff Awarded for Teaching, Research, Community Engagement

Laughs, cheers and standing ovations permeated the room as University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty and staff were rewarded for their excellence in teaching, research and community engagement during the “Celebrating Excellence” faculty and staff awards ceremony.

“Celebrating Excellence” began eight years ago as an annual tradition for recognizing the achievements of UMKC faculty and staff who go above and beyond. Friends and colleagues joined 23 awardees in Pierson Auditorium April 25 to celebrate their accomplishments in higher education.

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Regnier Venture Creation Challenge Finalists Compete for Funding on May 5

Photo by Janet Rogers

Four teams will share $55,000 in startup funding; top prize now $20,000

Each spring, the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management hosts a business plan competition in which students can present new concepts to local investors, business leaders and entrepreneurs. A total of $55,000 will be awarded this year, with the first-place team receiving $20,000doubling the previous $10,000 first-place prize.

“The Regnier Venture Creation Challenge, now in its sixth year, is one of the many ways in which the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation supports and promotes Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Jeff Hornsby, Ph.D., director of the institute. “Our portfolio continues to grow steadily, as it did this year with the opening of the Bloch Venture Hub. The Venture Creation Challenge is special because it is focused on the students who will lead our community’s business and job creation process for decades to come.”

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