Some of you may have read a recent article in The Post and Courier (02/06/12) about one of our graduates, Jeff Lucas, and his new video social networking site called Fipeo (short for Finding People). The site evolved out of his desire to bridge gaps between people and make more cross-cultural connections possible. According to the article, It will help people with a purpose, like learning a new language, moving to a new location, meeting people with the same hobby, etc. to record a video message of what they’re looking for and upload it on Fipeo.com. Jeff’s got partners and investors around him, but has a long way to go before the company’s up and running and in the black, but he seems to be on his way to greatness.
As a School of Business, we will continue to inspire minds to be creative and able to develop sensible business plans. It seems with Jeff, mission accomplished. He was a business administration major, with a concentration in Real Estate and Entrepreneurship. When he wasn’t in class, he was often either in a foreign country or participating in our Schottland Scholars program. This program gave him the chance to learn through experiential education (company visits, mentors, guest lectures).
To enhance our commitment to entrepreneurship training, I am delighted to mention that we recently unveiled our new Center for Entrepreneurship, under the leadership of Dr. David Desplaces, assistant professor of entrepreneurship. I felt before we re-opened the Center, we needed an experienced director to make it distinctive and excellent. David is that person.
He launched the University of Hartford’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development and has been involved with his family’s oil business, becoming director of both management service and holding companies specialized in oil services and outsourcing in the Middle East. He also served as the Middle East affairs trade mission specialist for the SC Department of Commerce. If that’s not enough, he is the faculty advisor of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and is the co-founder of Possibilities without Borders, a non-profit organization, which offers international service learning projects by providing participating students, faculty, community members, and other partner organizations the necessary resources to achieve each project’s goals.
I am confident that our entrepreneurship and other programs that promote innovation will have a huge impact on the business world. We need to continue producing graduates like Jeff Lucas, which we have done (consider Justin McLain, CEO of Endeavor Telecom; Jessica Gibadlo, CEO of Harry Barker; Trey Harvin, CEO of dotMobi; Sara Hays, CEO of YuDu Guru, just to name a few), and will continue to do for years to come.