New student organization at UWF inspires future entrepreneurs

University of West Florida |

The University of West Florida College of Business is encouraging students to pursue entrepreneurial ideas through a new organization, Student Collaborative Entrepreneurship Organization, or Student CEO.

The organization was founded in January 2013 in an effort to create a link for UWF students who are interested in learning more about entrepreneurship and to facilitate networking opportunities between student members and the business community.

The idea for Student CEO came when Dr. John Batchelor, assistant professor of management and MIS at UWF, saw that there was interest for an organization to support students interested in starting their own business.

“I wanted these students to know they aren’t alone in their desire to start a business,” Batchelor said. “I wanted to provide an opportunity for them to learn about running a business and gain experience at the same time. When they do start a business, I want them to have the confidence and support.”

Members of the organization have the opportunity to participate in classes offered at the UWF Small Business Development Center to learn more about creating and managing a business. Members also attend weekly meetings to brainstorm new business ideas and provide feedback. Future plans include starting a business to be owned and run by members of Student CEO.

The organization also hosts networking events, such as an upcoming lecture by Frank White, CEO of CollegeFrog, on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 6:45 p.m. During his presentation, White will discuss entrepreneurship and give career advice, and provide a Q&A session for students to share their ideas and receive feedback.

Batchelor recruited students who were interested in entrepreneurship to lead the organization, including Nicholas Phillis, a junior healthcare administration major and president of Student CEO.

For Phillis, the organization piqued his interest in learning about how to start and run a business, and it offered valuable networking opportunities.

“Being involved in Student CEO has broadened my understanding of business, as well as my view of entrepreneurship,” he said. “It has allowed me to think from a business standpoint.”

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