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Furman University

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO, United Community Bank to sponsor development program see more

    Furman University’s Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) will be presented virtually this year with two statewide community partners supporting the effort. United Community Bank will be the program’s presenting sponsor and SCBIO has signed on to be a presenting partner.

    The WLI is a seven-week leadership development program open to emerging and established women leaders in South Carolina, with past participants from every corner and many industries of the Palmetto State. It is led by distinguished Furman faculty and expert facilitators from civic and corporate organizations who cover core competencies from team leadership and design thinking to negotiating and developing networks.

    The program this year will comprise live, virtual sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11:30  a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST, beginning April 15 and ending June 1. The cost is $1,499 and registration is open now. For more information, or to nominate someone for participation, visit the WLI website.

    “The Women’s Leadership Institute at Furman is a wonderful opportunity to network with other female leaders in the community, learn more about my own natural strengths and abilities, and discover how I can use my voice to be an advocate for change in our local community,” says Jessica McCoy, a 2020 WLI graduate.

    “I would recommend this program to anyone who is actively seeking to make a difference in every area of their life. I promise you won’t regret a single second of it,” said McCoy, the business development manager for Brasfield and Gorrie, one of the country’s largest privately held construction companies.

    “The Women’s Leadership Institute has a long history of helping women succeed in their chosen careers and in life,” said Elizabeth Davis, Furman University president. “We are excited to have two cornerstone organizations join us this year to help extend our leadership training and advance equality, equity and diversity in the workplace.”

    Furman’s WLI began in 1998, and has helped more than 600 women from diverse sectors develop their leadership skills that are essential to advancing within their organizations.

    “Having United Community Bank and SCBIO join as presenting sponsor and presenting partner, respectively, increases the breadth and depth of the program into South Carolina’s business community,” says Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    “United Community Bank is committed to making a difference in our community and we believe that is achieved through sponsoring programs that support the development of those who serve others,” said Moryah Jackson, vice president of community development and engagement for United Community Bank. “We are excited to be this year’s presenting sponsor and provide women with a professional development opportunity that will help them go out and make the world a better place.”

    “Furman’s Women’s Leadership Institute is among the premier programs in the Southeast devoted to promoting talent development, fostering invaluable connections and expanding new opportunities for current and emerging women leaders across the business ecosystem,” said Erin Ford, executive vice president and chief operating officer for SCBIO. “We are honored and enthusiastic supporters of the WLI program and mission, and look forward to being actively involved in this fantastic program.”

    Ford and Sam Konduros, chief executive officer and president of SCBIO, will present during one session, and a panel from United Community Bank will close the program on June 1.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Furman cited for excellence by global organization see more

    Furman University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been named an Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Center by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, a group of more than 250 universities.

    Other recipients of the 2020 award were Boston University, Eastern Washington University and Smith College. The centers, which had to have been nominated for the award within five years of launching, were judged on early success, engagement with stakeholders on and off campus, an established management team, novel or unique approaches and clearly established goals and objectives. Winners in recent years include Dartmouth College, Brown University, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Tech and Babson College.

    “This recognition is a testament to Furman’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship and the unparalleled support by the campus community, alumni, parents, community members, administration and Board of Trustees,” said Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “In just two short years, we have built a globally recognized institute and paved a way for Furman to lead nationally among liberal arts and sciences universities in the space of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

    According to Herrera, three strengths set Furman apart from other universities. 

    “Our engaged faculty and students from across disciplines; strong ties with the community, including city and state government organizations as well as local venture capital groups; and a core group of alumni and parents who provide financial support, make the effort self-sustaining,” he noted.

    “This award signals that a liberal arts and sciences education can be a catalyst for innovation, that students who come to Furman can have a profoundly impactful experience as innovators and entrepreneurs regardless of their choice of major,” said Furman President Elizabeth Davis. “We are grateful that the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers recognized Furman’s role in creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship for our students, faculty and the community.”

    “The heart of innovation and entrepreneurship is creativity, in identifying opportunities and solving problems,” said Kem Wilson III ’98, a Furman trustee and alumnus, principal of Kemmons Wilson Companies and supporter of Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “The entrepreneurial experience Furman students can experience will benefit them regardless of their career path.” Wilson’s grandfather founded Holiday Inn. The company that bears his name now manages a diverse portfolio of companies spanning a myriad of industries, from hospitality to green technology to consumer brands.

    Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship sprang from The Furman Advantage and its focus on self-discovery, engaging the community and experiential education. It launched in August 2018 with Herrera’s hiring and has become “a perfect vehicle to encourage cross-disciplinary thinking and provide students, faculty and community members a place to participate in engaged learning experiences,” Herrera said.

    Early successes include:

    • pitch competition that attracted more than 80 student competitors and culminated in the most-attended pitch competition in South Carolina’s history; 530 people attending the final round between six students, where $30,000 in startup grants were awarded.
    • The Summer Business & Innovation virtual boot camp that has attracted 42 students from 10 universities across the Southeast. Following the boot camp, the City of Greenville funded 10 student internships with local startup ventures.
    • A virtual academy for high school students that led 62 teens from 11 states and 11 countries through a capstone project to pitch a venture in innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability or community health.
    • The “Class E Podcast,” produced in partnership with the Furman Department of Communication Studies, which presents biweekly talks and interviews with entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors from the Furman network. Fourteen episodes have drawn more than 1,000 listeners.
    • Leading in Times of Crisis,” a series of six virtual workshops for corporate, entrepreneurial and nonprofit leaders that attracted more than 1,000 registrants.
    • Collaborations, partnerships and ongoing relationships with organizations, including the City of Greenville, SCBIO, Upstate SC Alliance, Greenville Area Development Corporation,  Build Carolina, Village Launch, NEXT, 6AM and VentureSouth.

    In addition to continuing and expanding its programs, Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship has extensive plans to become more engaged and integrated with Greenville, the Upstate and South Carolina. Herrera expects to make several announcements over the coming months about partnerships with corporate and community stakeholders.

    For information about Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or to contribute financially, contact Anthony Herrera at anthony.herrera@furman.edu.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Furman Innovation team to provide interns to KOPIS see more

    Greenville software development company, Kopis, has partnered with Furman University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summer Bootcamp and NEXT to bring in summer interns to learn more about tech careers and to simulate the feel of a startup this summer 

    Furman University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summer Bootcamp is a three-week program designed to help non-business students learn business basics.  

    “Our partnership with NEXT has always been valuable,” said Matt Reeve, Furman internship coordinator. “They help connect our Summer Bootcamp students with opportunities that will help them grow their business skills.”  

    NEXT’s Vice President Brenda Laakso said one of the underlying foundations of NEXT is to help cultivate tech talent in the Greenville area.

    “Working with Furman interns and helping them become more comfortable in an entrepreneurial environment, and that the program with Kopis will definitely help enhance the students’ business skills,” she said. 

    Ian Martens and Mike Miller are the students taking part in the program. Martens is a rising junior majoring in Economics and Miller is a rising sophomore majoring in Computer Science. Martens and Miller will be learning business and entrepreneurial essentials, and will also be working with the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) team, working virtually to develop automated tools that can be used to migrate data from simple accounting systems such as Quickbooks and Zero to Microsoft Dynamics BC (Business Central). They will also be trained and encouraged by Kopis’ Software Engineering team and will have a deep immersion into the real-world software development experience.   

    “We are thrilled to be taking part in Furman’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summer Bootcamp,” said Andy Kurtz, Kopis’ founder and a Furman alum. “We know they will enjoy the experience, learning about both new product development and software development, and the will exit with a much better understanding of how software development works.”