Monday, March 5, 2018

On March 1st, 16 Sigma Nu Tau members traveled to Missouri to learn from St. Louis business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Sigma Nu Tau is an entrepreneurial honor society for students who value entrepreneurship, leadership, and academics. At every stop on their trip, students were greeted by entrepreneurs who encouraged them to take risks to reach their goals.

On the first day of their trip, Sigma Nu Tau members visited Cortex Innovation Community, a 200-acre innovation hub and technology district. There, they heard from business leaders about how entrepreneurs are cultivating an innovative environment in St. Louis. UI Alum and GlobalHack Executive Director Matt Menietti mediated the conversation and helped connect students with entrepreneurs throughout the trip.

The next stop was STL Style, a full-service retail and custom design shop owned by Jeff and Randy Vines. A small company, the Vines brothers talked about how the decision to stay local helps them harness St. Louis’ unique energy, history, and culture.

The group saw social entrepreneurship in action when they visited Kingdom House. They met with Iowa native and Kingdom House President and CEO Scott Walker, who talked about how getting involved in non-profits helps students grow and make new connections. Students were captivated by the non-profit’s mission to help people achieve better lives through educational programs and were inspired by how Kingdom House executives applied business skills to create a non-profit.

Senior Keegan Sloan says he enjoyed visiting a variety of businesses because of their diverse leaders. “I feel like a lot of people, myself included, feel like they don’t match the ‘look’ or ‘personality’ of an entrepreneur and essentially count themselves out before they even try,” he says. “Having the chance to meet entrepreneurs, from several different backgrounds, gave me real look at the fact that if you’re passionate about something, you work really hard, and you aren’t afraid to fail and try again, you can make it happen.”

Sigma Nu Tau ended their trip with a tour of Covo, a brand new co-working space. Students heard from a panel of entrepreneurs including Strange Donuts Founder Jason Bockman, Downtown STL Girl Founder Dana Kay Goddard, and Creo St. Louis Chief Visionary Officer Darren Jackson. In their panel discussion led by Matt Menietti, students were advised to follow their gut instinct and to remain humble no matter where they are in their journey. They also were encouraged to create sincere connections by remaining interested in others’ passions.

With the entrepreneur’s advice in mind, the students returned to Iowa City inspired to apply what they’ve learned to their studies.