Schmidthorst College of Business’ 11th Annual E-Week Focuses on Sustainable Communities

e weekStudents, alumni and entrepreneurs connect and share ideas

Hundreds of students, alumni and entrepreneurs gathered at Bowling Green State University in April to celebrate the 11th annual Entrepreneurship Week (E-Week) and share ideas on how to create sustainable communities.

E-Week, a long-standing tradition and the most significant annual event for the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business, brought together innovative leaders from around the globe to share their experiences, expertise and diverse perspectives. This year’s events focused on sustainability.

Through presentations, panel discussions and networking events, participants discussed leadership, innovative thinking and how to create a sustainable future and make a positive impact on our communities.

“E-Week provides the Schmidthorst College of Business a unique opportunity to collaborate with students and colleagues across campus,” said Dr. Jennifer Percival, dean of the Schmidthorst College of Business. “It showcases real-world examples of how different fields of study can build partnerships and use their strengths to implement new ideas and creative solutions to current problems the world is facing, especially those that help us create public good.”

E-Week events included:

Lunch and Learn Series

Area high school students learned about entrepreneurial thinking and participated in hands-on experiences that allowed them to create, innovate and communicate their ideas. Recent BGSU alumni and young entrepreneurs shared their stories of perseverance and provided students tips on how to leverage technology, create sustainable communities and lead from within your organization. 

Speakers included: 

  • Aaron Bedra '04, chief technology officer, Cumberland (DRW)
  • Whitney Taylor ’09, community UX lead, YouTube
  • Courtney Noelle deVaudreuil '17, owner, Functional Nutrition and host of Rooted Mindfulness Podcast
  • Rajia Abdelaziz, chief executive officer and co-founder, invisaWear
  • Ray Hamilton, chief technology officer and co-founder, invisaWear
  • Cori Byrge '19, '22 (moderator and 2022 Hatchling), chief executive officer and founder, Aqua-Gel-Ponics

Scholarship Honors and Awards Reception

The college recognized the hard work and accomplishments of our 2022-23 scholarship recipients and award winners. The Karl E. Vogt Outstanding Senior award was presented to Matthew DeAmon, the top graduating business student. DeAmon demonstrated superior scholarship, leadership and campus and community involvement. The award was named in honor of Karl Vogt, dean of the Schmidthorst College of Business from 1968-81.

Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame Ceremony 

Three outstanding alumni joined the ranks of more than 50 world-class entrepreneurs in the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame. These innovative individuals demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit that helped shape our economies and improve our quality of life.

This year’s honorees included:

  • Tony Drockton '88, '96, founder and chief cheerleader at Hammitt, America’s fastest growing handbag brand
  • Dr. Jennifer Higdon ’86, ’14 (Hon.), the first classical composer to successfully own and manage her own publishing company and winner of a Pulitzer Prize and three Grammy Awards
  • Damon Ragusa ’89, founder of five businesses at the intersection of software and data science and current chief data and technology officer at PatientPoint, a healthcare education, media and technology company

“We were thrilled to welcome our three alumni honorees home to BGSU to honor them and showcase their creativity and leadership,” Dean Percival said. “Their stories help illustrate that entrepreneurial thinking is not just simply owning a business, but can apply to organizations at all levels. An entrepreneurial mindset has the power to motivate and drive positive change.”

Learn more about our honorees’ stories.

The Hatch

At this “Shark Tank”-style event, seven BGSU students presented their business ideas – emphasizing sustainability – in front of a live audience and a panel of investors, hoping to secure funding for their fledgling companies. More than $24 thousand was committed during the live show to support our 2023 Hatchling entrepreneurs.

Audience members voted for their favorite ideas, and two student Hatchlings won a coveted Eggy award as fan favorites. Sophomore Izzy Mraz won for the live pitch of her company, Iz’s Yo Design, and sophomore Elizabeth Baende won an Eggy for the poster presentation of her business, Mindful Music.

Mraz and Baende were two of 14 students, representing a variety of colleges, who spent the semester working with mentors and University faculty to develop their business ideas. The goal of The Hatch is to engage students in innovative problem solving for the public good. Hatchlings not selected to present on stage had the opportunity to speak with audience members and share their current progress or lessons learned. 

Learn more about our Hatchlings and view their live presentations.

18th annual Sebo Series in Entrepreneurship

This signature event featured local, regional and national speakers who stressed the importance of incorporating sustainable business practices into their work and why it’s necessary for all of us to consider our impact on the environment. 

Their engaging discussion was applicable across industries from agriculture to solar technology. 

Keynote speaker Kara Goldin shared how her determination and persistence helped her overcome obstacles and build better solutions for all at her company, Hint Inc., one of the largest privately held beverage companies in the country.

Other speakers included:

  • Pat Bowe, chief executive officer for The Andersons
  • Eric Planey ’95, chief executive officer of SolaBlock
  • Mike Thaman, former chair and chief executive officer at Owens Corning

Since its inception, the Sebo Series in Entrepreneurship has been generously sponsored by J. Robert Sebo ’58, ’13 (Hon.) to carry on BGSU’s legacy of educating innovators and leaders.

2023 Paul J. Hooker Hall of Fame honorees with Dean Percival
Director of the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Sebo Series in Entrepreneurship

Updated: 05/10/2023 12:11PM