Hickory – Lenoir-Rhyne University is once again partnering with the Kauffman Foundation to host Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), an annual, international initiative aimed to inspire and recognize entrepreneurs. This year, GEW takes place Monday through Sunday, November 14 – 18 with thousands of events and activities planned globally. It is the largest celebration of those who invent products and create new companies and start-up businesses, in addition to those who use their businesses to enact social change.

In conjunction with GEW the Center of Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship (CCSE) at LRU is hosting events throughout the week which include business competitions, presentations, and community discussions and panels. Faculty members from multiple disciplines, international partners, local and regional entrepreneurs, as well as LRU business students will be participating in the event.

The week kicks off with the Edison Project Business Plan Competition scheduled for Monday, November 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) Auditorium. This event is similar to ABC’s Shark Tank in that regional entrepreneurs will present their business plans to a panel of judges and compete for the title of the Best New Entrepreneurial Business and cash awards totaling $18,000. This event is co-sponsored by LRU in conjunction with the Catawba Valley Chamber of Commerce, Alex Lee, Inc., Catawba County, Catawba Valley Community College, EDC Committee of 100, and Concept Frames.

Other events scheduled during GEW include:

Women in Entrepreneurship Panel on Tuesday, November 15

Belk Centrum, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

A panel of women who have exemplified entrepreneurship will speak about their entrepreneurial journey. Learn about their successes and failures, gain advice on becoming an entrepreneur, and network with these inspirational female business leaders.

Fast Pitch Event, Wednesday, November 16 at Belk Centrum, 5 – 7:30 p.m.

The Hickory Crawdads and LRU have partnered with the City of Hickory to provide a pitch competition for community members. Participants will have 3-5 minutes to pitch their business idea. Audience members will vote for their favorite pitch, and the top five contestants will receive a cash prize of $200. Take part and vote for the next business idea you want to see in Hickory.

Hickory Discovery Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, Thursday, November 17, Grace Chapel, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Join LRU, NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues, CVCC, and BB&T for the Hickory Discovery Forum. Ten teams will have five minutes each to share their social entrepreneurship pitches with the audience who will vote on their favorite. The top three teams will have a chance to compete for $10,000. It will be an evening full of innovation, inspiration, and networking.

Movie Night: SlingShot on Friday, November 18, Belk Centrum, 5:30 – 8 p.m.

Join LRU’s CCSE for movie night. View the film SlingShot, a documentary giving insight into the genius behind Dean Kamen and his latest invention that will solve the world’s water problems. A community discussion on entrepreneurship and the problems facing the world will follow the film.

“Global Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of innovation, creativity, and risk-taking. This week is important because we take the opportunity to both celebrate and acknowledging the success of our students at LRU, our many community business owners, and our partners around the world,” said Dr. Ralph Griffith, Director of the CCSE and Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship. “The CCSE and the Innov828 Business Incubator provide unique opportunities for students and community members to not only develop, but realize their business plans through comprehensive study, free consulting, mentorship, and funding.”

To learn more about GEW and the CCSE at LRU, visit www.lr.edu/CCSE, or contact Dr. Griffith at ralph.griffith@lr.edu or 828.328.7985.

Photo: Dean Kamen, right, in SlingShot