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Center for Entrepreneurship preps 2015-16 programs at Belmont University
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Elizabeth Gortmaker

Update 26 September 2019: Belmont announced the CE is now named for its benefactor Thomas F. Cone Sr.-Ed.

BELMONT UNIVERSITY's Center for Entrepreneurship (CE) has an ambitious agenda for 2015-2016, according to Director Elizabeth Gortmaker.

Among other things, the CE plans to name soon the first Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) to hold that honor at Belmont in several years. The EIR executive has been identified and the arrangement is being finalized by university officials. This story will be updated, as warranted.

Other Student business-focused programs and initiatives on-tap within Gortmaker's bailiwick include:

Business Plan Presentations in November 2015. No cash awards.

Business Plan Competition, April 2016. Top prize to be announced.

Business Accelerator: seven-team cohort to be completed in August.

Business-incubation Hatcheries: Will host 40+ students.

Presentations by invited Entrepreneurs during selected undergraduate Convocations.

Recruiting, supporting and deploying volunteer local professional advisors for instructional programs, as well Faculty and Alumni mentors for sustained advisory roles in support of student business ventures.

In addition to students sometimes walking-in with business plans, seeking comment, the CE also stands ready to support students pursuing a Social Entrepreneurship major, as well as those who have interest in the Retail sector and take paid jobs in either of two retail shops operated for that purpose by the University, alongside Belmont Boulevard. The shops are currently Feedback Clothing Co ("Where fashion meets philanthropy") and BLVD Music.

Gortmaker noted that she is actively making the rounds of the Nashville area to meet with her opposite number within entrepreneurially oriented companies, professional services firms, universities and other nonprofits, and welcomes approaches from those sharing the Belmont CE's interests.

Entrepreneurially minded Belmont students often arrive Belmont with businesses underway; and, Belmont students regularly pop-up on the local startup scene, as indicated by this Fall 2014 release, which includes reference to, among others, recent Nashville Entrepreneur Center ProjectMusic accelerator graduate EVAmore (fka What's Hubbin'), which is led by two current Belmont undergrads. Today's related VNC story on EVAmore is here.

In May 2013, Gortmaker's predecessor, Jeff Cornwall, Ph.D., completed a decade as the CE's chief, which was a collateral duty. The CE operated in interim mode until Gortmaker's appointment, two months ago. Cornwall, a nationally recognized entrepreneurship educator, holds the Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship and is a professor in the university's College of Business Administration. And, he is a prolific interviewer, publishing videos on his personal blog and via other channels.

Dean Pat Raines

Gortmaker is a 29-year-old Houston native who earned both her MBA (International Business, Entrepreneurship) and undergraduate (Music business, audio engineering) degrees at Belmont. She reports to Jack C. Massey College of Business Dean Patrick Raines, Ph.D.

Gortmaker's own prior career includes, for example, managing new-media and digital strategy with two artist-management and publishing companies, as well as with major label EMI (now Capitol Music), where she said she also worked with Spotify, Vevo and Hulu.

She's also served two years on a regional board of HOPE Internatonal, focused on a program providing entrepreneurship training in 16 nations. And, her LinkedIn profile says she's held a couple of FINRA certifications.

In addition to the Raines-led Massey College of Business, Belmont is home to the separately administered Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business, led by recently appointed Dean Doug Howard.

The Curb College will move from the Massey Business Center to a new Belmont University building, later this summer. Curb College students take core business courses offered in the Massey College of Business.

According to literature provided by Belmont, its other entrepreneurial initiatives include student business grants; membership in campus entrepreneurship clubs and both Collegiate DECA and a Sigma Nu Tau chapter; Seed-stage loans; access to an entrepreneur network (alumni and non-alums in the community); legal (Baker Donelson) and accounting clinics; and, an endowed visiting entrepreneur lecture series, among other things.

The Fall 2015 semester began at Belmont University with campuswide enrolment of 6,570 students, including 1,123 graduate students, according to a university source. VNC

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Tags: Belmont University, BLVD Music, Center for Entrepreneurship, Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business, Elizabeth Gortmaker, entrepreneurs, EVAMore, Feedback Clothing Co, Jack C. Massey College of Business, Jeff Cornwall, Joe Calloway, Mike Curb, postsecondary, retailing, startups, students, Thomas Cone

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