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MARCH 2013 UPDATE HOME
More March Features:

Musical Theatre Showcase will
  highlight graduating seniors

I.D.E.A.T.E. opens doors for student
  entrepreneurs

Profile: Dr. Dan Lattimore
U of M recognized as Lifeblood
  “Newcomer of the Year”

Reading into more than the words
  on the page: Department of English
  hosts Book Club Series this spring

Names in the news

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I.D.E.A.T.E. opens doors for student entrepreneurs

By James Northcutt

It might well be one of the University of Memphis’ best kept secrets: the University College’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) provides Memphis area start-ups with free advice on getting their businesses off the ground or to the next level.

The Center recently began rolling out many new initiatives under assistant director Kelly Penwell and its new director, Dr. Richard Irwin. “Irwin has provided the CEI with a great support network that has allowed us to bring some innovative initiatives and programs into fruition,” said Penwell.

One such initiative is I.D.E.A.T.E. (Innovation Design & Entrepreneurial Action Team Exchange), which promotes the University’s student talent pool, giving students across all disciplines the opportunity to earn internship credit by completing short-term projects for local Memphis businesses. Not only will these projects help bridge the gap with the business community, but students will also receive valuable resume-building experiences.


Interns Jared Stanfield and James Northcutt meet with a client for I.D.E.A.T.E. (Innovation Design & Entrepreneurial Action Team Exchange), which gives students from all disciplines the opportunity to earn internship credit by completing short-term projects for local Memphis businesses.
Interns Jared Stanfield (left) and James Northcutt meet with a client for I.D.E.A.T.E. (Innovation Design & Entrepreneurial Action Team Exchange), which gives students from all disciplines the opportunity to earn internship credit by completing short-term projects for local businesses.

The CEI will connect the students with the businesses and oversee the internships.

“This initiative will be a great win for several groups,” Penwell said. “Students will gain valuable resume builders in a short amount of time and businesses will receive assistance on short-term projects. The University will get the credit for housing this great program, the CEI will add another revenue stream and the community will benefit overall.”

“We are encouraging students from all disciplines to partake in this program,” said Jared Stanfield, one of the student interns at the CEI. “Our first potential project actually just rolled in, for which we would like to involve the College of Education in developing a career development curriculum for the client.”

I.D.E.A.T.E. will also source members from local high schools to participate in the project through the CEI’s partnership with the Peer Power Foundation.

“We are thrilled to be able to give these students the opportunity to earn college credits before they ever graduate from high school,” Penwell said. “This will increase their chances of success and further Peer Power’s mission.”

Kelly Penwell, assistant program director, speaks to clients at an I.D.E.A.T.E.  whiteboard session.
Kelly Penwell, assistant program director, speaks to clients at an I.D.E.A.T.E. whiteboard session.

Penwell said one of her goals at the Center is to give her 12 part-time interns the opportunity to build their resumes and gain valuable work experience by managing and executing their own projects. Penwell said she wanted to give all U of M students the chance to do the same through the completion of the short-term projects through I.D.E.A.T.E.

The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is funded through an earmark in a state grant and is hoping to become financially viable once the grant expires in September of this year with the help of this any many other initiatives, Penwell said.

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