KSU Sets its Sights on Entrepreneurs

KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb 2, 2016) — The Coles College of Business has turned its focus to prospective entrepreneurs, among both faculty and students. The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center has teamed up with Kennesaw State University to expand offered online courses as well as hosting a conference in March.

UGA SBDC at KSU’s “Launch Your Business” series will now be offered online as well as in a classroom setting. The four-part series focuses on starting a business, financing a business, marketing a business and writing a business plan, as well as giving students a comprehensive “Starting Your Georgia Business” workbook. Lack of planning is listed as one of the top reasons new businesses fail, so this program is considered critical for those who want an informed and strategic plan for their business.

The conference, called “Cracking the Code,” is for small business owners and employees and is scheduled for March 23 from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The full-day program includes a “BIZ-Talk,” panel discussions concerning the ABCs of business and code cracking, an entrepreneur round table and two seminars structured around attracting great customers, assessing your value and creating a better management style.

As for the speakers attending the conference, the majority are small business owners. Reed Liggin, the first speaker, founded Razorlnsights, an IT company he sold five years after its launch for eight figures. John Loud, founder of LOUD security, will speak on the second panel. Lisa Ames, founder of Catalyst Consulting Group, and Robin Houston, founder of New Creation Labels and Packaging, will both speak during seminars as well.

The Georgia SBDC offers business consulting on everything from marketing to human resources, financing, small business owners and startups. The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with KSU, UGA and the U.S. Small Business Administration, so there is no cost for consulting services.

Carole Arnold, the Georgia SBDC program director, claimed that, out of the 357 clients they consulted last year, 29 percent were new businesses. They assisted their clients in getting over $15 million in capital assistance. Of their many clients, Elf on the Shelf is the easiest to recognize.

Students and faculty are urged to take advantage of either the free consulting or both the seminar and the online courses.

David Bowman, a sophomore finance major, already owns his own business. Commotion Engine is a video production company geared towards corporate clients. While Bowman was unaware of the upcoming seminar and the online courses, he is now interested in each opportunity.

“I do think practical programs would be beneficial,” Bowman said. “You hear a lot of talk sitting behind a desk, but the application of what you learn is very different.”

Bowman has been spending the last five years growing Commotion Engine. He started taking classes at KSU in an effort to increase his knowledge in both business and finance.

The Coles College of Business already has several notable alumni. Among them is Joyce Bone, a 2012 graduate who has been featured in Forbes magazine and is an established consultant and author. Bone also co-founded EarthCare, a non-hazardous liquid waste environmental company that traded on NASDAQ (ECCO), ultimately achieving $125 million annual revenue.

Kertsin Valdes is another impressive alumn. Valdes is the vice president of Finance for Georgia-Pacific’s North American Consumer Business, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of paper goods. She was honored with the KSU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award and was admitted to the Coles College of Business Hall of Fame in 2015.

-The Sentinel