Monday, January 30, 2023

Internet Entrepreneur Inspires Students at Fifth Annual REDe Summit

 BY DYLAN MARTIN AND LAUREN MUNNELL

University of Mississippi School of Business Administration

Students take in lessons from successful business owners at the fifth annual REDe Entrepreneurship Summit at The Gertrude C. Ford Ole Miss Student Union. Hosted by the university’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the event is designed to encourage, celebrate and enhance the entrepreneurial spirit among Ole Miss students. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Alexis Maybank, founder of Gilt Groupe, shared her struggles and successes with University of Mississippi students as the keynote speaker during the fifth annual REDe Entrepreneurship Summit, held Nov. 10 at The Gertrude C. Ford Ole Miss Student Union.

“A career is a very long marathon,” Maybank said. “Don’t measure yourself in your missteps and instead have the long arc of your career in mind.”

Maybank’s address not only included her personal story, but also outlined the steps necessary to create a strong business plan. She discussed the importance of trial and error and how a “no” isn’t always a bad thing.

Two Ole Miss business school alumni were highlighted at the summit, where they shared lessons learned from their initial failures launching businesses. Brea Givens and Tanner McCraney both went back to the drawing board after initial poor performances at the Gillespie Business Plan Competition.

“It’s always gonna be an uphill battle, but it’s definitely worth it,” said Givens, founder and CEO of Froomie. “As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, be prepared to accept change with open arms.”

Alexis Maybank, keynote speaker of the fifth annual REDe Entrepreneurship Summit, speaks to a packed house of students at the event. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Givens and McCraney, co-founder of Rumie, both won at the competition after receiving assistance from the UM Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

These type of life lessons are the goal of the REDe Entrepreneurship Summit, which has been held since 2018. The focus is to encourage, celebrate and enhance the entrepreneurial spirit among Ole Miss students.

“We believe hearing the entrepreneurial journeys of these speakers encourages our students to pursue ideas they have in mind, learn from failures and get prepared for challenges in their future career,” said Tong Meng, director of programs for the CIE.

The CIE was established in fall 2014 by the School of Business Administration. Since 2018, the center has awarded $39,000 in scholarships and has given over $188,000 in cash prizes to students. More than 60 student ventures have been established with support from the center.

“Attending the REDe Entrepreneurship Summit was very eye-opening and inspiring to me as I was able to see Ole Miss alumni take their ideas and bring them to life,” said Danielle Delavaldene, a junior from Dallas majoring in marketing.

“I also found Alexis Maybank’s speech to be inspirational as she discussed the importance of executing a strong business plan and how it helped her company be very successful.”


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