LaunchNET Kent State’s Build Your Own Brand Series Inspires and Teaches New Entrepreneurs | e-Inside | Kent State University

LaunchNET Kent State’s Build Your Own Brand Series Inspires and Teaches New Entrepreneurs

On Thursday, March 31, LaunchNET Kent State kicked off its five-week Build Your Own Brand series of entrepreneurial workshops specifically crafted for minority students.

Build Your Own Brand is a free five-week series where students can learn about and strengthen their entrepreneurial and networking skills and learn how to overcome obstacles that underrepresented minorities face in the workforce and entrepreneurship. Additionally, special speakers, many minority professionals and entrepreneurs, will share their stories and offer advice. Students also will have the chance to compete for a cash prize at the end of the series.

Working with an engaged group of more than a dozen students, LaunchNET Kent State Advisor Danielle Flemister kicked off the series with two speakers: Idris Kabir Syed, lecturer in Kent State’s Department of Pan-African Studies, and Shanice Cheatham, founder of Endemic Solutions LLC. Syed gave a thought-provoking presentation on the history of underrepresented minorities in entrepreneurship. Cheatham, whose startup is producing a portable handwashing system for medical personnel working in areas without running water, shared her entrepreneurial story and tips for students.

Flemister, also an entrepreneur herself, was the impetus behind the series. She was inspired to create the series by the hurdles faced by clients she meets with at LaunchNET Kent State.

“Even in 2016, there are many challenges underrepresented minority groups face in entrepreneurship and the workforce,” Flemister says. “Fortunately, there is a crucial difference between a few decades ago and today. Today, there is a plethora of resources for underrepresented minority groups to take advantage of. Build Your Own Brand was designed to address some of the challenges, while making students aware of resources in place to help overcome those challenges. Additionally, Build Your Own Brand creates a networking environment and teaches entrepreneurial tools to the students involved."

Many of the student participants brought their own venture ideas and were looking for the skills to make them a reality. Shawnta Eberhardt, a Kent State alumna and LaunchNET Kent State client, found the initial class helpful for getting motivated.

"The first session of Build Your Own Brand was very motivational and uplifting,” Eberhardt says. “Prior to going to the session, I didn't know how I was going to get a start on my business. However, I left with a determined and redirected mindset of how to get started!"

The workshop series continues every Thursday through April 28 in Ritchie Hall, Room 250, from 6-8 p.m. Encourage your students to sign up.

For more information and to sign up, visit http://buildyourownbrand.eventbrite.com.