Entrepreneurship Week

Tuesday, March 17 - Friday, March 20, 2020

A celebration of innovators who want to change the world, bring a creative new idea to life or launch a new business. Join the Entrepreneurial Leadership Center, the Small Business Development Center and speakers to inspire the entrepreneur in us all! This four-day event is filled with various activities, workshops and panels for students and business leaders.

ELC Week 2019
Russ Starke delivering a keynote address.

Keynote Speaker Russ Starke '96

CEO of Think Company, a service and digital experience design and development firm based in Philadelphia.


Russ Starke, CEO of Think Company, gave the ELC Week Keynote address. Russ talked about the importance of agility and risk-taking when starting a new business. He shared his career path from a start-up in a basement to the fast-growing corporation he heads up now. Russ also wanted to emphasize that integrity, both personally and professionally, is key to having the kind of workplace environment where everybody thrives.

Six successful women from our community came together to discuss the road to entrepreneurial excellence moderated by the Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Lori Donofrio-Galley. They focused on the strategies and tools which lead to a thriving and vibrant business. Following the panel, attendees were treated to a sit-down luncheon and the opportunity to network with the panelists and each other.

Local business women sit at a table hosting a panel on Entrepreneurship.

The Women's Panel and Luncheon

Anna Blanchette of Anna's hats displays her products.

Anna Blanchette of Anna's Hats at the Student Marketplace

The Student Marketplace held every year simultaneously with the Women's Panel and Luncheon features KU students who are already entrepreneurs. The Marketplace gives students an opportunity to advertise, network and sell products! This year the student-owned businesses who participated were Anna's Hats, LBJ Media, the Plug, !DANGERBRAND!, and Guardian Crafts Studio.

The Family Business Panel featured members of family-owned Pocono Raceway, Liquid Interactive, Albright's Mill & Wessner Trucking, LLC, and Jersey Ink Custom Apparel moderated by Dean Anne Carroll of the College of Business. These four family businesses represented a wide array of size and number of generations- from two to 5! The panel held a lively and sometimes intimate discussion of what it was like to help run a family business.

(Left to Right) Anne Carroll, Nick Igdalsky, Stephanie Stoudt, Susan Becker, Jim Ludlow

(L to R) Dr. Anne Carroll, Nick Igdalsky, Stephanie Stoudt, Susan Becker, Jim Ludlow

Gabe Webb, Anna Blanchette, Luis Bardales Jr., and Cody Cordwell sit at a panel table.

(L to R) Gabe Webb, Anna Blanchette, Luis Bardales, Jr., Cody Cordwell

Three area high schools brought students, involved in their business clubs, to hear KU student entrepreneurs hold a panel moderated by Professor Stephen Walker. Gabe Webb (Webbinator), Anna Blanchette (Anna's Hats), Luis Bardales, Jr. (LBJ Media), and Cody Cordwell (The Plug) discussed the realities and rewards of running your own business while meeting the academic and social demands of being a college student.