Aaron L. Levitt Social Entrepreneurship Challenge

In a kickoff event on Oct. 19, the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management and the Department of Public Affairs launched the Aaron L. Levitt Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.

This fun new initiative is designed to develop social entrepreneurship and innovative civic leadership in the Greater Kansas City region as it enables the next generation of civic leaders and social entrepreneurs to serve our community.
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Regnier Gift Puts New Name on Institute

Pictured, from left: Institute Executive Director Michael Song, UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton, Bloch School Dean Teng-Kee Tan, Bloch School benefactor Henry W. Bloch, FAIA ACSA Distinguished Professor Victor Regnier (University of Southern California School of Architecture), Catherine Regnier and President and CEO, Bank of Blue Valley, Robert Regnier.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Henry W. Bloch School of Management have received a $3 million gift from the Regnier Family Foundations to endow the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, housed in the Bloch School.
The foundations were established in 1990 by Victor A., Jr., Robert D. and Catherine M. Regnier to honor their parents’ legacy.

“The Institute has demonstrated excellence nationally and globally in business entrepreneurship and innovation. Now UMKC is taking that experience and strategically infusing other schools on campus with an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset,” said Victor Regnier, FAIA ACSA Distinguished Professor at the University of Southern California School of Architecture. “This allows the entrepreneurial spirit of the Bloch School to strengthen all disciplines. Taking an entrepreneurial approach to the application of knowledge and research in engineering, law, performing arts and health sciences is a model from which every university can benefit.”

The Foundations established for Victor L. and Helen Benning Regnier promotes higher education, children’s programs and libraries, primarily in the Kansas City area. The UMKC gift will provide an opportunity for more students to apply to the Institute’s nationally and globally ranked entrepreneurship programs offered through the Bloch School.
The Regniers have been long-time supporters of the Institute, having named the Institute’s Venture Creation Challenge event (Regnier Venture Creation Challenge) with an annual gift in 2007.

The Challenge is designed to encourage student venture creation through a forum in which students can present new venture concepts to local investors, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Throughout the year, UMKC students develop business plans supporting commercialization of high-growth-potential technologies as well as their own original ventures. These student teams compete in the Challenge for various awards.

Several of the student ventures have achieved initial success. Tim Sylvester’s Integrated Roadways, featured in The Wall Street Journal, created sensors to detect hazardous road conditions, using a modular pavement system. Shane Spencer’s Green REIT – a real estate investment trust focused exclusively on renewable energy – secured nine figures in investment in his first year and made Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Real Estate list.

Kristen Kenney, an alumna of the UMKC Law School, won a University of Missouri System award for RE:Cite, which helps make legal services more profitable for practitioners and more cost-effective for consumers. The product has an addressable market value of more than $800 million.

“The Regnier Family understands the significance of this experiential learning challenge as well as the quality of the entrepreneurship programs at the Bloch School,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton.

“Their gift will allow the Institute to continue to draw the best students and prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs who will be critical to our regional, state and national economies.”

“It is imperative for our community to support the Bloch School and UMKC so that we may continue to grow and become among the best in the world,” Bloch School Dean Teng-Kee Tan said. “The generosity of people like Henry Bloch and the Regnier Family, among others, has been critical to our success, but we must continue to sustain, grow and graduate students with an innovative and global mindset, regardless of discipline.”
The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation develops and delivers UMKC’s entrepreneurship offerings, including the Bloch School’s degree programs at all levels and cross-disciplinary programs university-wide.

IEI Director Michael Song stressed the importance of the gift in conducting that work, saying, “The Regnier Family’s generosity will help us reach more students, create more entrepreneurs and more ventures and take our programs to the next level of excellence.”

Visit the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
More about Bloch School Rankings.

Bloch School Ranked in Nonprofit Management

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The city’s top business leaders and business educators gathered at the University of Missouri-Kansas City today to celebrate the university’s achievements in applying entrepreneurial practices to address social problems.

UMKC announced that in the recent U.S. News & World Report listing of “Best Graduate Schools 2013″ rankings, the nonprofit management emphasis in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management’s Master of Public Administration program jumped 10 spots from its former ranking at No. 25 to No. 15 in the nation.

Frank Ellis, president and CEO, Swope Community Enterprises and chair of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, makes the ranking announcement to guests.

School namesake Henry W. Bloch said this represents achievement in “social entrepreneurship” and reflects his vision for the school that bears his name. He was joined by Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Chair Frank Ellis, Bloch School Dean Teng-Kee Tan, UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton and Department of Public Affairs Chair David Renz at the celebration, held at the university’s James C. Olson Performing Arts Center.

Four MPA alumni joined Henry Bloch onstage for the event, explaining their roles as social entrepreneurs in the community. From left, Marlene Leonce, senior environmental officer for the Kansas City Department of Public Works; Henry W. Wash, president and CEO of High Aspirations; (Henry Bloch); Sondra Goodman, programs and grants manager with the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation; Jim Doyle, director of business operations at Marillac Children’s Psychiatric Hospital

“I am an entrepreneur and an innovator in both the for-profit and the nonprofit sectors, and I am proud to have my family name associated with a school where exciting things are happening and the good news just keeps coming,” Bloch said. “In my personal life and my career, I am a businessman who cares about his community and gives back to it. I never wanted to be one or the other, because our city relies on us for civic leadership and business growth.”

According to Frank Ellis, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce reviewed dozens of submissions that addressed solutions to the City’s needs. “We are working on what we call the Big 5, each goal promising significant impact and each goal achievable. Fortunately, they align perfectly with existing programs in the Bloch School of Management,” said Ellis.

“The Bloch public administration programs, especially the Levitt Challenge, will foster innovative collaborations with ideas that could turn our urban core around.”
Announced at the June 20 event, the Aaron L. Levitt Social Entrepreneurship Challenge allows students from across UMKC to compete in developing innovative strategies that address some of the most complex urban community needs and challenges. This is similar to the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge – a UMKC competition designed to encourage venture creation by students, where the new venture concepts are presented to business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs.

The Master of Public Administration program is housed within the Bloch School’s Department of Public Affairs, which also is home to the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, a nationally recognized community leadership development center; and the L.P. Cookingham Institute for Urban Affairs, which focuses on promoting sustainable communities through educational programs and research directed at understanding how the financial, civic and environmental sustainability of local communities can be improved.
“This is the single most noteworthy ranking of public affairs programs in the nation,” said David Renz, Chair, Department of Public Affairs, Beth K. Smith/Missouri Chair in Nonprofit Leadership and Director, Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership.

The nonprofit management emphasis at UMKC focuses on “social entrepreneurship,” agency governance, executive leadership and the role of the nonprofit sector in the economy.

Bloch School Dean Teng-Kee Tan reiterated the successes the School has had over the past few years, particularly in entrepreneurship and innovation. “The Henry W. Bloch School of Management’s key mission, vision and value proposition focuses on twin pillars of excellence: entrepreneurship and innovation in the for-profit sector and ‘social entrepreneurship’ and civic innovation in the public/not-for-profit sector,” Tan said.
“The rankings Bloch has achieved reinforce the fact we are a top school in both areas.“Entrepreneurship and non-profit ‘social entrepreneurship’ is what the life of our school’s namesake, Henry Bloch, is about,” Tan noted.

“Our job at the Bloch School is to nurture our students to become more like Henry Bloch each day. Our academic excellence and recognition shows we are certainly going in the right direction.”

For more information on Public Administration programs at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, click here.

For the listing of U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate School rankings, click here.