Boy reads during presentation

A few local Tigers left Marietta College's Entrepreneurship Expo last month with thoughts and more questions.

The theme: Building an Entrepreneurial Mindset.

"If you want to get into small business, it a was good learning intro for budgeting," shared Sophomore Henry McCombs as the first nine-week grading period wrapped up Friday. "I thought that was really neat because that's something you'd have to go to school for to learn how to budget and start companies."

McCombs was able to stay not only for the interactive address of the keynote speaker, Dr. Heidi Neck, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., but also a few of the tracked sessions afterward. 

Neck encouraged the gathered crowd of students and adults in banking, marketing, law and nonprofit work last month to dream with courage and step past the fear of failure as they create their product and service ideas.

"Only you can validate your idea, Google cannot validate your idea or a report from your library cannot validate the idea. Only you can validate the idea with real information. And as you validate the idea, you're building your own confidence in the idea," she shared. "Then, share your idea with as many people as possible. That's why I encouraged you to share your story. [Because] when you share your ideas, others became invested in your ideas."

She brought Sparks and MCS Senior Kenzie Smith, onto the front stage to share out in front of the crowd their feedback from the small group interactions.

"I did feel engaged and picked up information that is useful for the future, " Senior Anthony Sparks shared before heading to the Washington County Career Center. "The speech or the expo itself seemed more about nourishing your already existing business and we left shortly after the main speaker."

Sparks said he hoped for more hands-on planning and steps as he wraps up the landscaping program at the Washington County Career Center with the hope of starting his own business after graduation.

For Tiger Alumna Jenna Stewart '18, the selection of afternoon's smaller sessions with fellow Alumni Calaya Rake seemed directly applicable to their current roles in the education of local students.

She said the pair were often together during entrepreneurship exposure while at Marietta High School.

"So this was something we were used to from the past and even though I wouldn't consider myself a traditional entrepreneur, there's always something you can pull from that mindset," said the resource development coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County. "I work with a nonprofit that's well established, but we went to one session that talked about compassion and the work we do is nothing but compassion at every level for the kids, the staff, the parents and the community that we work with."

Stewart said she also learned from the youngest students in the rooms of the sessions.

"Listening to [speakers] interact with the kids on their level, I almost got ore out of that interaction."

An interaction Stewart is trained to observe, and one she plans to bring back into the classrooms where Marietta Tigers continue their learning after the school day concludes.