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Students Organize Startup Conference to Help Entrepreneurs Realize Their Dreams

October 1, 2012

A group of enterprising Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students has organized a day-long conference on Saturday, October 27, to inspire future entrepreneurial opportunities in technology and innovation.

         Hunkler Ready
              Matt Hunckler                               Jeff Ready

The Rose Startup! Conference will bring together Indiana college students, Rose-Hulman alumni, experienced business leaders, and young rock-star entrepreneurs with potential investors, technologists, and engineers that are eager to collaborate on innovative projects. There will be 14 speakers, including two featured keynote speakers and four panel discussions on a variety of entrepreneurial topics.

The daylong meeting is being sponsored by Exact Target, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Rose-Hulman's Department of Engineering Management, and Rose-Hulman's Office of Career Services.

"Something is bound to develop from putting all of these resources and creative ideas together in one place," said Conference Organizer Chad Conway, co-founder of the Rose Innovative Student Entrepreneurs (RISE) organization. He is a senior mechanical engineering major from Duxbury, Mass. "This will be an excellent place for people to network and discuss important issues relating to starting a company or bringing a new idea to the marketplace," he said.  

Keynote speakers will be Matt Hunckler, president and founder of VERGE, a community of Midwest software developers, entrepreneurs and startup investors; and Jeff Ready, a successful entrepreneur whose latest enterprise is Indianapolis' Scale Computing, twice selected to Forbes' list of America's Most Promising Companies. Ready, a 1996 Rose-Hulman computer science graduate, was nominated as MIT Technology Review's Top Innovators of 2004.

Panelists discussing idea creation will be Beau D'Arcy, partner of Hollywood's B2 Entertainment Group; Yvette Kendall, president of Las Vegas' Shevinci Innovations; and Elizabeth Hagerman, Ph.D., vice president of Rose-Hulman Ventures and a former new product development official with Baxter Healthcare.

Providing advice on overcoming barriers to creating new business ventures will be Nick Mahurin, chief executive officer of Terre Haute's InfraWare; Jon D. Speer, managing partner of Martinsville's Creo Quality, LLC; and Jeremy Clarke, president of Vortex Web Solutions of Middlebury.

A third panel examining venture/seed funding for business enterprises will feature Elizabeth Kozman, associate director of strategic and commercial development for Indianapolis' BioStorage; Bradley W. Schwer, partner for Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP who specializes in funding and documenting the funding agreement; and Michael Shepard, vice president of finance for the Bostech Corporation of Indianapolis.

Discussing company classification and growth will be Anthony Broadnax, president of northwest Indiana's Broadnax Enterprises; Dustin S. DuBois, partner for Indianapolis' Ice Miller law firm who specializes in intellectual property; and Gerald Rea, chief executive officer of Scottsburg's Stray Light Optical Technologies.

There will be two breakout sessions during the event, and a networking opportunity will conclude the day.

Rose Startup! is planned from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Hulman Union building on the Rose-Hulman campus in Terre Haute. The event is free for any university student, faculty or staff member, but $20 for others. The online registration deadline is October 13. There is a limit of 200 participants.

Learn more about RISE.