June 28, 2018 10:02am
Louisville’s largest annual gathering of entrepreneurs, innovators celebrate start-up successes, discuss challenges
LOUISVILLE – About 300 people, including many of Greater Louisville’s most successful entrepreneurs and innovators, converged Tuesday evening to celebrate the area’s progress and success in building a sustainable, innovative community for entrepreneurs – while also discussing challenges that remain.
EnterpriseCorp, the entrepreneurial support arm of Greater Louisville Inc, hosted the annual Evening of Entrepreneurship presented by Fifth Third Bank, at C2 Event Venue in Old Louisville. The event also commemorated EnterpriseCorp’s 20th anniversary.
During her State of Entrepreneurship Address, Lisa Bajorinas, vice president of entrepreneurship and talent for GLI, told the audience that the entire business community benefits from innovation that occurs in a vibrant entrepreneurial climate: “The key to any strong, healthy business environment is innovation. Innovation attracts talent. Innovation creates a diverse economy and spawns new businesses, which then turn into expanding businesses that attract other businesses.”
The lively, fast-paced event also included energizing comments from keynote speaker Diane Hessan, nationally acclaimed entrepreneur, investor, marketer and author. Hessan founded C Space (formerly Communispace) – a leader in helping companies get insight and inspiration from their customers – and after 13 years of growth, sold the company to Omnicron in 2011. It now has more than 500 employees in more than a dozen nations.
Hessan stressed the importance of a healthy and engaged entrepreneurial community. “As an entrepreneur, you’re different than a lot of other people in business,” she said. “So it’s great to walk into a room and be with people who understand what it’s like to be you.”
Van Clouse received the 2018 EnterpriseCorp Award, which recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to Louisville’s entrepreneurial community.
Clouse is the University of Louisville College of Business Cobb Family Professor of Entrepreneurship. He is co-founder of the university’s nationally ranked Entrepreneurship MBA program and director of the Forcht Center of Entrepreneurship.
Clouse has taught thousands of students in a variety of classes related to entrepreneurship. He also coaches U of L’s Entrepreneurship MBA teams in regional, national and international business plan competitions, with two of his teams winning the Global Championship at Venture Labs Investment Competition – considered the “Super Bowl” of business plan competitions. Prior to joining U of L in 1986, Clouse was co-founder of a regional foodservice company based in South Carolina and served as a consultant to hundreds of entrepreneurial startups.
EnterpriseCorp is the entrepreneurial arm of Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI) – the region’s leading economic development organization. As an entrepreneurial support organization, EnterpriseCorp assists entrepreneurs with business assessment, customer discovery, capital access, talent acquisition, space selection, strategic introductions and peer-to-peer networking. We support the culture of the community through educational series and recognition events. We collect data and convene leaders to prepare the Louisville region for the next generation of innovators. For more information, visit EnterpriseCorp.com.
About Greater Louisville Inc.
Greater Louisville Inc. – the Metro Chamber of Commerce is focused on growing the regional economy. As the region’s largest convener of business leadership, GLI leads economic and global outreach strategies focused on business attraction; nurtures the entrepreneurial eco-system; and champions the development of the community’s talent base. As the voice of Greater Louisville’s business community, GLI advocates for a pro-business environment and facilitates businesses engagement on issues that impact regional competitiveness. For more information, visit www.greaterlouisville.com.
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