Student organizations, business competitions and real-life successes…

At Bradley University, entrepreneurship is a process. Housed in the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the school’s cutting-edge entrepreneurship program—the first of its kind—has been ranked in the top 25 nationally for the last two years by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. In its mission to nurture innovation, problem-solving skills and entrepreneurial know-how in students, the Turner School focuses on recognizing opportunities, creative marketing, assessing risk and securing financing, among other skills vital to entrepreneurial success.

Resources for the Student-Entrepreneur
But networking is also a major cornerstone of the program—both inside and outside of the classroom. Students interested in entrepreneurship have the opportunity to become involved in a number of student organizations, including the arts-centered group Self Employment in the Arts and the Bradley chapter of Enactus, which focuses on social entrepreneurship. With funding from a Sam’s Club grant, Bradley’s Enactus chapter worked with Thirty-Thirty Coffee last year to improve quality, speed of service and overall customer care in the shop—and took the results to a national competition in April.

The Project Springboard New Venture Competition is another outlet for students’ entrepreneurial ideas, bringing real-world business experience and an opportunity to vie for cash, consulting and services valued at over $100,000 to help them launch their venture. This year’s winner, Bradley senior Shiv Patel, established a venture called Chargd, introducing backpacks with charging capabilities for tablets and phones.

A third student organization, the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), provides similar opportunities. Founded by Dr. Gerry Hills, Turner Chair of Entrepreneurship and executive/academic director of the Turner School, CEO has its own chapter at Bradley—but it also serves as host to the CEO national executive headquarters, a fantastic resource for Bradley students. As the premier collegiate entrepreneurship network with chapters across North America, CEO attracts students passionate about entrepreneurship and eager to connect with like-minded folks.

Bringing Ideas to Life
Harsh Shah, current president of Bradley’s CEO chapter, is one of those students. “Being a mechanical engineering major, I’ve always had numerous ideas and always wanted to build a company,” he explains. “After being exposed to entrepreneurship, I decided to join CEO to pursue one of my many ideas.”

Some of Shah’s visions are now coming to fruition. He is among the co-founders of MuzMee, first-place recipient and “Audience Choice” winner at Peoria’s first Startup Weekend, the 54-hour event hosted by Startup Peoria last November. Gearing up for a soft launch this October, MuzMee will serve as a platform for risk mitigation of music events, allowing music aficionados to voice their live music preferences, bands to understand their fan base, and venues to serve their markets with less risk.

Shah hopes the success of MuzMee will serve as a precedent for future student-entrepreneurs. In an effort to help others pursue their ideas, he has arranged a flurry of workshops and speaker events over the last year. CEO chapter members can benefit from Peoria’s position as a growing hotbed for entrepreneurship, he explains, as opportunities abound.

“While seeing the rise of tech startups, I am striving for a closer relationship with Startup Peoria,” he explains. “[The group] is really doing a lot of cool things for startups, and I want students to interact with local entrepreneurs to inspire them to pursue their own ventures.” iBi

For more information on Bradley University’s student entrepreneurship organizations, visit bradley.edu/academic/schools/turner/organizations.