USC Upstate to Host Global Entrepreneurship Week Events

October 29, 2018 at 4:53 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate’s George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics will participate in a worldwide phenomenon dedicated to igniting entrepreneurship. An inaugural celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) will be held Nov. 12 through 15 at the Johnson College of Business at 160 E. St. John St. in downtown Spartanburg.

Founded in 2008 by global business leaders, GEW is celebrated each year in November in more than 165 countries, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Network. USC Upstate GEW festivities will include three days of events aimed at providing students and members of the community with the tools they need to reach the next phase of their entrepreneurial journey.

“Statistics show that small businesses are major contributors to job growth in the private sector,” says Brian Brady, an instructor and director of the GreenHouse Business Incubator at the Johnson College of Business. “Small businesses help drive the Upstate’s economic engine. We hope to use our resources to foster entrepreneurship in Spartanburg and the region by supporting startups and helping them scale.”

The college’s celebration of GEW will officially begin on Nov. 1, Brady says, with a Johnson Innovation Speaker Series event featuring prominent author and global transportation entrepreneur Robin Chase. Chase, the founder and former CEO of Zipcar, Buzzcar, and GoLoco, as well as the chairwoman of Veniam Works, will discuss “Disruptive Innovation and the Sharing Economy.” The event will be held from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in room 150 at the college’s downtown campus.

“We are very happy and proud to host the Global Entrepreneurship Celebration at the George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics this year,” says Dr. Mo Djerdjouri, dean of the Johnson College of Business. “There is a lot to celebrate in the Upstate, where the entrepreneurial ecosystem is evolving and getting stronger by the day. The college plays a vital role in the improvement of that ecosystem and aspires to be a valued partner in the economic transformation of the Upstate.”
The schedule of events includes:

  • A kickoff event from 8:30 to 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, in the college’s Rotunda, or lobby.
  • The “Open Mike: Student Entrepreneur Business Idea Pitch” from 12:10 to 1:15 p.m. on Nov. 12, in classroom 150.
  • A panel discussion with local business and entrepreneurial leaders from 12:10 to 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in classroom 150.
  • A discussion with investors and marketing experts about “How Artists and the Creative Community Can Grow Successful Business” from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 in the college’s art gallery.
  • On Thursday, Nov. 15, a Wells Fargo Speaker event featuring Donnie Hodge, former CEO of Alta Gracia, who will discuss social entrepreneurship from 12:10 to 1:15 p.m. in classroom 150.
  • A closing reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the GreenHouse Business Incubator located on the college’s third floor.

In addition to Brady, panelists for the Nov. 14 business discussion will include Lekesa Whitner, supportive services manager of NDG/CommunityWorks Carolina; Jennifer Evins, president and CEO of the Chapman Cultural Center; Mark Housley, Upstate regional manager of SC Launch; Erin Ouzts, director of VentureSouth/Spartanburg; and Jansen Tidmore, executive vice president of Spartanburg’s Downtown Development Partnership. Djerdjouri will serve as moderator.

Panelists for the Nov. 14 arts discussion will include local artist Lucy Boland, Spartanburg entrepreneur Sandra Cannon, Rosalind Paige, associate professor of marketing at the Johnson College of Business, and G. Hubbard Smalls, an associate professor of law and accounting at the Johnson College of Business. Evins will serve as moderator.

“I’m really excited about Global Entrepreneurship Week,” Tidmore says “We are stepping up and stepping out our efforts to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Spartanburg. This week is not only a celebration of those efforts, but a continuation of our foundation building and momentum for creating that ecosystem.”

All USC Upstate GEW events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required for some events. For information, email Brady at or call 864-503-7623.