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State to host LAUNCH 14


BROOKINGS, SD (KELO-AM) South Dakota State University will host the ninth annual South Dakota Entrepreneurship Education Conference Feb. 20. LAUNCH 14 starts at 9:30 a.m. and will be held at the McCrory Gardens Visitor and Education Center on the SDSU campus.LAUNCH 14 is sponsored by Vision Brookings and the Division of Economics and Management at SDSU, and marks the second-straight year the event has been held at SDSU. It again features entrepreneurs at various levels of success or achievement to discuss their experiences to students. There will be two tracks, one addressing the practical aspects of entrepreneurial business activity and the other focusing on entrepreneurship education. While not mutually exclusive, the education track is expected to be of interest to teachers and instructors.Steph Paluch, a senior majoring in entrepreneurial studies, attended last year's event and encourages fellow students to attend this year's event, which is held in celebration of National Entrepreneurship Week."I really enjoyed the presenters last year, particular the main speaker (Jeffrey Stamp, the inventor and brand manager of Baked Lays)," said Paluch. Stamp was the 2013 Rickert Visiting Entrepreneur Speaker. "We were able to ask questions and get the insights and perspective of someone who made it big. It was an experience I was lucky to get."Scott Gerber, a serial entrepreneur and author of "Never Get a 'Real' Job," is the 2014 Rickert Visiting Entrepreneur Speaker. This keynote address marks the fifth event in the Rickert Visiting Entrepreneur and Speaker series, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Craig and Carla Rickert. Other speakers include South Dakota entrepreneurs Tina Beal, Dillon Julius and Coy Yonce. Craig Silvernagel, chair and instructor of entrepreneurship in the University of North Dakota's College of Business and Public Administration, returns as a speaker. He previously spoke in 2007."They're going to give different perspectives, talk about the challenges they had and resources they used to get where they are," said Barb Heller, State's Entrepreneurial Studies Coordinator. "They will try to really bring home the fact this field is an option whether you've thought about doing this before or if you're a student who's unsure about what to do."Heller said students and faculty from Augustana College, Black Hills State, Dakota State, Kilian Community College, Lake Area Technical Institute, Northern State and the University of Sioux Falls will also be in attendance."It's very easy to not go but one should make the decision to go, even if you're not in entrepreneurial studies," said Paluch. "It should be a good event and you will get some great advice. It's also a good networking opportunity. Students should step out of their comfort zone and attend. You never know whom you will meet, make an impression with and come in contact with again later on. You could meet someone who could help you when you're starting your business."Event partners are the SDSU Ness Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Institute, South Dakota Small Business Development Centers, South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development, South Dakota EPSCoR and the Dakota Wesleyan University Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship.For more information, visit SDLaunch.com.