News Center

Back to News Center

Morrisville State College Faculty, Students Get Down to Business by Attending Entrepreneurial Conference

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.—Kimani Smith means business. The 21-year-old Morrisville State College student is all about business—running his own.

Smith, of Brooklyn, N.Y., recently returned from winter break with a bit more career savvy tucked under his collar after attending the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) conference in Manheim, California, along with professors and three other students in the college’s Collegiate Science Technology Entry Program (CSTEP).

USASBE is the largest annual entrepreneurship and small business conference in the world.

Also attending the conference was:
Adail Carty, of Bronx, N.Y., an automotive technology management, bachelor of business administration major
Juan Castanos, of Bronx, N.Y., an automotive technology, bachelor of technology major
Patrick King, of Laurelton, N.Y., an information technology management, application software development bachelor of technology major

They attended with Chris Scalzo and Stephen Moore, assistant professors of business administration.

The conference was a mix of diverse workshops and information that promoted best practices in entrepreneurship education and program development. Students came home with a host of new ideas that amped their entrepreneurial spirit.

Smith said it helped him streamline his vision of starting his own contractor referral company.

“It motivated me tremendously,” he said. “There were high-end entrepreneurs who actually sat down with me and talked to me about my ideas, plans, goals and dreams. I’m already working on my business plan.”

Castanos, 20, a native of the Dominican Republic, gained worldly insight.

“The conference opened my eyes to the many possibilities in my life as far as experiencing many different aspects of the business world, from traveling to managing,” he said. “As a sales district manager for a big automotive manufacturer (my career goal), I will be able to oversee many different dealerships around the country and possibly around the world.”

The conference motivated King, 22, who aspires to start his own IT consulting firm.

“I attained a sense of hope and widened horizons to know that my ideas can come to light if I have that drive and passion to say this is what I want to do—and I am going to get it done,” he said. “I’ve had many ideas before this conference and being there has taught me a few of the tools I need to be successful in my endeavors.”

Entrepreneurs also imparted sound advice during the event.

“One woman stressed the importance of always remaining focused and knowing my plan,” Smith said.

A native of Jamaica, Smith moved to Brooklyn and set his sights on a business education at Morrisville State College, first earning an associate degree in business management.

He’s going a step further, taking courses to earn a bachelor of business administration degree in entrepreneurship and small business management, and is already reaping rewards from the classroom where he is learning about entrepreneurial finance and marketing management.

Students, in turn, are filtering their knowledge into the community.

King, Castanos, Smith and Carty were among CSTEP students who recently gave a social networking presentation to the Madison County Chapter of Service Corps Retired Executives (SCORE) members during a SCORE seminar held at the college.

The USASBE conference is one of the ways Dr. Scalzo is striving to advance entrepreneurship in the classroom while exposing Morrisville State College students to real-world entrepreneurs.

“After hearing other entrepreneurs’ stories, now I have the confidence to say yes, I can do it,” Carty, 21, said.

“The greatest thing I walked away with from the conference was the determination to create my own idea/innovation and to stand out,” Castanos said.

Morrisville State College integrates entrepreneurial activity into most of its curricula, emphasizing experiential learning in real-world laboratories on campus. The college offers more than 75 bachelor and associate degrees and options, including a bachelor of business administration degree in entrepreneurship and small business management.

Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine.

The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus offers associate degree programs in accounting, business, computer systems technology, office administration, liberal arts transfer, nursing, early childhood, criminal justice and human services to south central New York residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.