Category Archives: Community Engagement

Mid-Michigan Economic Round Table meets at UM-Flint’s School of Management

By Alexis Menard On August 15, 2019 10:15 am

The University of Michigan-Flint’s School of Management is pleased to announce a new hosting agreement with the Mid-Michigan Economic Round Table of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch.  The initial meeting was held on August 6, 2019 in the Riverfront Center.  The group meets three times per year. 

Senior Business Economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Paul Traub, and Business Economist with the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, Martin Lavelle, both gave presentations centering on key economic indicators in the region.  Following these presentations, regional business leaders from banking, economic development, manufacturing, state agencies, and universities shared their insights about the local and regional economy. 

School of Management Lecturer and Executive-in-Residence, Larry Nichols, helped coordinate the new School of Management meeting location for the group.  Scott Johnson, Dean of the School of Management, noted “we are pleased and honored to host the Mid-Michigan Economic Roundtable.  These distinguished individuals offer keen observations to help shape the Federal Reserve policy.” 

The School of Management is also once again hosting the Annual Economic Forum luncheon in conjunction with the Flint Rotary Club on December 13, 2019 in the Northbank Center Grand Ballroom.  This annual event features a panel of financial and economic leaders who will address current topics affecting the U.S. economy.  Please refer to www.umflint.edu/som for additional information and registration.   

Entrepreneurs Society Influences Effective Student and Community Involvement within Flint

By Alexis Menard On May 1, 2019 11:55 am

The 2018-2019 academic year was a massive success for the School of Management student organization, Entrepreneurs Society (ES). Entrepreneurs Society received four awards at the Wolverine Excellence banquet on Thursday, April 11, 2019. The banquet is hosted by the Department of Student Involvement and Leadership and recognizes the contributions of a student organization which exhibits strong leadership skills such as teamwork, collaboration, communication, while also implementing initiatives that fulfill the mission of their organization.  The organization is also one that is committed to furthering the university’s mission and positively impacting the quality of student life on campus.

Entrepreneurs Society received the Outstanding Organization Award and the Student Organization Community Contribution Award. The Outstanding Student Organization Award recognizes a student organization that has demonstrated significant leadership qualities and has contributed to the University of Michigan-Flint during the 2018-2019 academic year.
Along with the two distinguished organizational awards, the School of Management Faculty member and Advisor to Entrepreneurs Society, Dr. Michael Witt, received the Outstanding Student Advisor Award. Lastly, the President of Entrepreneurs Society, Todd Fridline (BBA in Finance ’20), received the Outstanding Student Leader Award. 

The President of Entrepreneurs Society, Todd Fridline (BBA in Finance ’20), Vice President, Elisabeth Hamilton (BBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship ’20), and Treasurer, Carryn White (BBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship ’19) discuss Entrepreneurs Society community contributions and leadership at University of Michigan-Flint in a Q&A with the School of Management.


Q: How has this organization demonstrated leadership and positively contributed to the Flint community?

Hamilton: The Entrepreneurs Society takes great pride in being leaders on our own campus and also in the community in which we live. The biggest way our organization is making a positive contribution to the community of Flint is our Flint Green project. Flint Green is a project focused on changing the negative connotation that the community of Flint receives, and turning it into a positive outlook. Flint Green is focusing on promoting a greener version of Flint, using solar and wind energy to support the members of the Flint community who typically get ignored. By promoting and marketing this project, Entrepreneurs Society is also promoting a positive contribution to the Flint community.

This past December, over 20 Entrepreneurs Society members visited the Whaley Children’s Center to volunteer our time. The Society believes it is important to give back to the community whenever possible. This volunteer opportunity allowed ES students to help the Whaley Children’s Center in one of their most crucial times of the year.

Fridline: In the fall, the Entrepreneurs Society held its first annual Entrepreneur Tour. This experience provided students with an opportunity to listen to and network with entrepreneurs here in our own city. The tour made two stops in Downtown Flint. The first was at Cafe Rhema, where ES members listened to one of the executives at OLV Investment Group and Cafe Rhema owner, Josh Spencer. The tour also visited the Flint Ferris Wheel to visit the owner of KALM Clothing. They are both thriving businesses within the Flint Community and offered great insight about their experience of crafting their businesses, as well as gaining support from other local companies and promoting them to students at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Along with this tour, we have also had the honor of having various Flint entrepreneurs come to speak to our society, such as Wes Stoody, Founder of Article One, Terry Stanfill, inventor of “Lenz,” and we had a team assisting him in his marketing and finding his market segment, Drew Lauinger, Instagram Influencer looking to start a social media marketing company, Sean Tabor, Project Manager at Michigan Management Specialists and alumni of ES and many more entrepreneurs.

The Society also visited local packaging company and Tier-1 automotive supplier, NorthGate. Several ES students received a tour of one of their facilities and had a great opportunity to talk with the President of the company for over an hour. ES has also collaborated with local Entrepreneurs and alumni of the University of Michigan-Flint. Two entrepreneurs reached out to the Society in search of help for their respective businesses. Students from ES provided these entrepreneurs with business plans, financial models and projections, and helpful insight to their business sector.

White: Entrepreneurs Society has also held many events open to the community of Flint, including relationship with the Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurial Speaker Series, Financial Wellness workshops and a LinkedIn Workshop. In these workshops, we have collaborated with other student organizations, emphasizing on the idea that the community of Flint should be an environment where everyone feels involved.

Q: How has the organization demonstrated a commitment to furthering the mission of the University of Michigan-Flint?

Fridline: The Entrepreneurs Society is dedicated to the success of its members, the community and the University of Michigan-Flint. Through collaborations, student engagement, and various events, the Entrepreneurs Society has worked hard to create opportunities for students across campus at UM-Flint. Entrepreneurs Society provides students with valuable, hands-on professional experience through events and projects. Among many things, we provide students with an opportunity to explore career opportunities and learn the skills needed to succeed as a student and professional.

Hamilton: Our two main events engage the community locally and globally. The first being our annual Entrepreneurs Society Dinner. This event is an opportunity for everyone in the Flint community to network with each other and grow positive connections along with each other, thus continuing the mission of bringing positive collaboration of members of the Flint community. This dinner is also a way to get the University of Michigan-Flint name out there in a positive way and show anyone from outside of this community the great things our school and organization are doing. The Entrepreneurs Society invites esteemed alumni and business professionals in the Flint area and connect them with current students on our Flint campus. The goal of this dinner is to provide these current students with a chance to network with local businesses and entrepreneurs. Over 120 people were in attendance, making it a great night of networking and opportunities for UM-Flint students, alumni, and community members.

White: The other main event the Entrepreneur Society participates in is the annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Conference. In November of 2018, ten Entrepreneurs Society members attended this global event in Kansas City to represent the University of Michigan-Flint and its values. At the conference, each member built leadership, networking, and teamwork skills through various seminars and workshops. In addition to learning these new skills, our Entrepreneurs Society also placed in the top five for awards in Outstanding CEO Chapter Leader, Outstanding CEO Chapter Advisor, and Best Cross Campus Innovation & Networking Award. Our President, Todd Fridline, was also able to represent our chapter and university during a Chapter Development session allowing ES to reach a global base by speaking about our practices. The conference is an opportunity to network with other students and executives from Fortune 500 companies. By supporting individual endeavors, as well as hosting these campus-wide events, the Entrepreneurs Society has been able to draw student involvement from multiple disciplines (including pre-med and engineering) to the organization.

Hamilton: Lastly, the Entrepreneurs Society has worked diligently to include students of all majors in events, projects, and meetings. Specifically at UM-Flint, ES has had student volunteers participate in coordinating a Zillion Solutions, another event hosted by the Hagerman Center, competition and Think Tank sessions hosted in the fall semester. Through collaborations with the Hagerman Center, and outreach at events like Admitted Student Welcome, Mgagement, and Pre-Business Welcome, ES has continually offered assistance to students beyond the School of Management.

Q: How has this organization positively contributed to student engagement at UM-Flint?

White: The Entrepreneurs Society is a resource that enables students to shape their careers and advance themselves in the professional world. Every semester, Entrepreneurs Society works hard to create opportunities through various projects and events. Members can take part by leading their own project or volunteering to support ongoing endeavors.

Hamilton: The organization has engaged students by providing team members to help students start their own businesses. ES alumni, Hane Cho, has launched DASH, a social networking app on Google Play and in the app store. Cho has been interviewed by several local news outlets about his work and aid from the Entrepreneurs Society. Another current project we having been supporting is an Italian import startup.

Fridline: Entrepreneurs Society invites students from all areas of campus to join the group for weekly workshops held during meeting time. These include etiquette tips, how to network effectively, intellectual property basics, how to improve your LinkedIn profile, and financial wellness for students. Additional involvement comes from collaborating with other organizations, such as SHRM, Marketing Club, and SCOMA, to host these events. Entrepreneurs Society also works closely with the Hagerman Center by hosting a Zillion Solutions, which received over 200 idea-solution entries. ES members are developing a sales pitch to aid the engineering department in participating in the annual Baja race. Collaboration with these organizations has resulted in the promotion and involvement of our members, as well as members of other student organizations.

The 2016 Economic Forum

 

The 2016 Economic Forum was hosted by The Rotary Club of Flint & the University of Michigan-Flint School of Management on December 9th, 2016. The event took place in the Northbank Ballroom in Downtown Flint, Michigan.

FEATURED SPEAKERS:

Steve Chenenko, MBA
Chief Risk Officer, Nationwide Bank

Yener Kandogan, Ph.D
Associate Dean & Professor of International Business, UM-Flint School of Management

Christopher Douglas, Ph.D
Associate Professor & Department Chair, UM-Flint Department of Economics

 

UM-Flint SEI Summer Camp Students Explore Entrepreneurship

The Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation held its Summer Entrepreneurship Institute camp for the first time on July 12-14.

High school juniors and seniors spent three days learning about multiple aspects of entrepreneurship, business, and marketing. The camp aims to help high school students understand entrepreneurship and the excitement surrounding new ventures that can solve real problems.

Professor Amy Gresock, Assistant Professor of Management, said she hopes to challenge the students to think about entrepreneurship in a multi-faceted way.

“Opportunities are everywhere. It wasn’t just sitting in a classroom with the students. We were in the Flint community. We were on campus and we challenged them to look for opportunities,” said Gresock. “In some of the exercises we did, they came up with some really good ideas that played off of opportunities that they saw in the external environment. Their problems don’t have to be something really grandiose. It can just be solving a problem that they see in everyday life.”

 

 

Professor Greg Laurence teaches summer camp students about the basics of Entrepreneurship.

Professor Greg Laurence teaches summer camp students about the basics of Entrepreneurship.

 

 

Students spent time with School of Management Professors Amy Gresock and Greg Laurence inside the classroom and in the community working to develop their entrepreneurial venture. During day one, students toured the UM-Flint campus looking for opportunities and quickly found that Flint has a lot of prospects for entrepreneurs.

Sean Mason, a high school junior from Davison, said he appreciated the implementation of lessons learned during the Summer Entrepreneurship Institute.

“I liked that it was hands on. I didn’t know exactly what to expect coming into it but I liked that after we learned something, we got to try it out,” said Mason.

 

Sean Mason asks a question during a skype interview with Chris Trejbal.

Sean Mason asks a question during a Skype interview with Chris Trejbal.

 

The camp aimed to encourage entrepreneurial thinking by engaging students with course materials, community experiences, and a field trip to Skypoint Ventures in downtown Flint on the second day of the camp.

Interim Director of Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and camp organizer, Professor Brian Blume, said he believes the Summer Entrepreneurship Institute was an engaging experience for the high school students.

“The camp was effective in introducing students to entrepreneurship and helping to develop an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Blume. “We, also, were able to show students how downtown Flint is being transformed to support and encourage entrepreneurial ventures, as well as introduce the strong entrepreneurship program at the UM-Flint School of Management.”

 

Summer camp students tour Skypoint Ventures. Bryce Moe, Managing Director of Skypoint Ventures, shows students a portion of the Dryden building that is under renovations.

Summer camp students tour Skypoint Ventures. Bryce Moe, Managing Director of Skypoint Ventures, shows students a portion of the Dryden building that is under renovations.

 

On day three, the students wrapped up their work and learning by presenting their feasibility analysis projects to fellow students and their parents. Mason said he believes he gained a lot out of the camp experience.

“Before this camp I had a rudimentary understanding of business and certain opportunities. I learned about how to find your niche, how do you look at an opportunity and seize it and use the correct branding and marketing to really succeed and advance your cause,” said Mason.

The School of Management will be hosting another summer camp next year for high schoolers. Blume said he hopes to see more student participants in the future. He also has a piece of advice for other young entrepreneurs who want to get started.

“I suggest exploring these entrepreneurial interests early on. I encourage you to become involved with a business venture or to start a business, even if it’s a part-time business. Also, be sure to watch the TV show Shark Tank.”

International Students At UM-Flint

International Students At UM-FlintGlobal Advocates for Vehicle City
BY ON JULY 1, 2016

This past year, there were more than 700 international students attending UM-Flint – the most they have ever hosted.

“We are an international campus that has been progressing over the past decade,” says Dan Adams, International Center Director. “The reality is that having this identity isn’t just our students. It happens with the curriculum and student life make-up; it’s a matter of embracing what is here now. Diversity means nothing; it’s really about what you do with it. It’s how you incorporate it into your everyday life, your student and professional lives, your friendships and relationships.”

And UM-Flint is not short on diversity. Students hailing from China, India, South Korea, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Jamaica and even more countries decide to live, work, study and play in Flint.

Read the full article HERE.

UM-Flint Tax Preparation Service Honored by IRS

Dr. Cathleen Miller, an associate professor of accounting at UM-Flint runs the university’s tax assistance program, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), which provides free help to those in the community.

She started it in 1984, as a student through the UM-Flint Accounting Club, and remained heavily involved since becoming a faculty member in 1998. Miller formed a course in 2005 for the VITA program. She continues to teach the course.

 

Read the full article here.

Hagerman Student Scholars selected for the 2016-2017 Academic Year

The Hagerman Student Scholars program has been expanded for the 2016-2017 academic year by adding two additional students to the lineup for its annual Hagerman Student Scholar Award. The Hagerman Student Scholar award was created in 2015 to support future entrepreneurs. Hagerman Student Scholars become ambassadors of the Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation located inside the School of Management.

Lauren Adams, Bryan Halpin, Nolan Moore, Sean Tabor, and Emily Zoromski will step into their role of Hagerman Scholars in the Fall 2016 semester.  Along with receiving a $2,000 scholarship, they will become ambassadors of the School of Management Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Through this opportunity, the scholars will expand their networking opportunities while working one on one with School of Management professors and the community.

Adams, a senior majoring in Business Administration, expressed her excitement about being selected as a Hagerman Scholar. “It’s exciting to get involved this early on since I am only in my third year. I am excited for the networking opportunities and community involvement,” said Adams.

Adams sees entrepreneurship and innovation as ways of creating positivity in the community. As a part of the National Society of Leadership and Success, she has found that traits she already possessed will suit her entrepreneur spirit. “[National Society of Leadership and Success] gave me realization of my strong traits and interests. I am embracing entrepreneurship because it will teach me to be a better leader and to take risks for positive changes,” she said.

Lauren Adams, 2016

Lauren Adams, 2016

Moore, a senior majoring in Business Administration, echoed Adams sentiments about receiving the award. “When I heard about it, I got really excited. I applied for it and I was lucky enough to get it,” said Moore. “It’s been a huge blessing to me and my family. My mom cried when I told her I got it.”

As someone who grew up just outside Flint, Moore was never unaware of the cities issues. After he graduates from college, he hopes to contribute to positive changes in the city. “I heard about the crime, the violence, the poverty, and the poor economic situations that have plagued the city for years. Hearing about these things can easily crush one’s hope for a better future. After attending the University of Michigan-Flint for four years now, I have seen things that have restored my hope for the city, and I want to be part of that,” he said.

As a senior, Moore can see the impact that it will have on his education and career outlook. “The simple fact is this will help me get though school,” he said. “This is going to be my last year and I can get through this year without a bunch of student debt. It’s going to relieve a lot of stress and help me get a jump start on my career.”

Nolan Moore, 2016

Nolan Moore, 2016

Halpin, a senior majoring in Supply Chain Management and Marketing, agrees that the financial stress of education can affect the choices students can make. He understands the financial burdens that affect college students and how they impact the time it takes to get a degree. Originally starting his college career in 2004, he took only one course each semester while working full time. He states that the sacrifices his wife and himself have made allowed him to pursue his college education full time. “I set myself up to have one year without a job to go to school full time and this award helps me achieve my goal; it helps me to get where I’m going,” said Halpin. “My wife and I have both sacrificed for me to get this degree. For the school to participate in that and help to ease our sacrifice is amazing to me.”

As a student who is already heavily involved with Entrepreneurs Society as their Vice President, Halpin understands the impact of Hagerman Student Ambassadors. “I think the ambassadorship, reaching out to the community and to other students, that’s going to be the most fun,” he said. “I look forward to helping people achieve their goals just like this scholarship helped me achieve mine. That’s going to be phenomenal.”

Bryan Haplin, 2016

Bryan Haplin, 2016

Tabor, a senior majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship, credits Dr. Michael Witt for igniting his passion for Entrepreneurship when he joined the Entrepreneurs Society. He was elected Vice President for the 2014-15 academic year and shortly after, transitioned to President for the 2015-2016 academic year. He pursued his passion by starting his own real estate investment company while attending school full time. Shortly after, he obtained an internship with SkyPoint Ventures. He hopes his work through SkyPoint Ventures will create opportunities for students to strengthen the surrounding community.

“I think it’s [the Hagerman Student Scholar Award] going to give hope to local entrepreneurs,” said Tabor. “It’s going to give hope to college grads who want to be entrepreneurs and realize that there are people out there who want to support them— people out there that understand the importance of small business and that they’re willing to give of their fortune to help someone create their own.”

Sean Tabor, 2016

Sean Tabor, 2016

Zoromski struggled to find her place in the beginning of her college career. She discovered her love for business and joined the Entrepreneur Society. It was there that she discovered her passion for working with others.

“That has had a really big impact on my college career,” she said. “I have met a lot of really great students with the same goals and mindset that I have. That’s had a big impact. You get different viewpoints on everything and just some of the projects you do, dealing with the people you are helping is really cool.”

Zoromski believes that future Hagerman Scholars will benefit and gain opportunities that otherwise would not be available. “I think that it’s [the Hagerman Student Scholar Award] going to help other students learn and grow,” said Zoromski. “Everyone wants scholarships and having the different things you’re involved in, from getting the scholarship, is a great learning opportunity for other business majors. I’m a finance major so letting people other than entrepreneurship majors know about this scholarship will be a great opportunity for them to learn about entrepreneurship.”

Emily Zoromski, 2016

Emily Zoromski, 2016

Entrepreneurs Society To Build Third Work/Live Home with HFH

Members of UM-Flint’s Entrepreneurs Society, an organization composed of School of Management students, helped Habitat for Humanity (HFH) build the first “Work/Live” house in Flint on West Fifth Street in June of 2012.

The Work/Live home contains both residential and commercial space, and provides the resident both affordable housing and an opportunity to become a self-sufficient small business owner. Now, the society will help HFH provide a third such house in the same neighborhood.

The success of the unique houses has attracted the interest of MasterCard. The company recently announced it is providing a $90,000 grant to the Genesee County HFH, and a total of $400,000 in grants to be awarded to five HFH affiliates in MasterCard target markets that will replicate the model created by Genesee County HFH and the UM-Flint Entrepreneurs Society. The five awarded affiliates will be visiting Flint in August for hands-on training.

The residents of the newest house will be small business owners Scott Hempel and Tyler Bienlein. They will soon have a new affordable space in the Grand Traverse District in downtown Flint for their tabletop gaming store, where they will work and live thanks to this innovative housing pilot.

“We are grateful to Genesee County Habitat for Humanity for their willingness to be creative and innovative in addressing the need for small business job creation, and to the University of Michigan-Flint Entrepreneur Society in making the connection and strengthening our business plan,” said Scott Hempel.

SOM’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Michael Witt founded the Entrepreneurs Society in 2008. “We came up with the idea, along with Habitat,” said Witt. “Our management students learn how to start new businesses through this process by engaging in new company formation activities, such as conducting a needs assessment, define potential new businesses that meet those needs, recruit suitable candidates, help them create a business plan, set up financials, marketing plans, etc. We accommodate the needs of the new business and help them succeed.”