A small group of students at the University of Louisiana recently founded a non-profit student organization, the Society for Entrepreneurial Advancement (SEA), to foster entrepreneurship among university students.

SEA’s purpose is to instill in its members an entrepreneurial mindset and to provide them with the resources and support network critical to starting new enterprises. SEA’s goals are to provide entrepreneurial education to the university community, to promote good reading habits, and to provide opportunities for its members to enhance their communication, presentation and leadership skills through group activities. SEA membership will help students establish a local and regional support network which is vital to business activities.

SEA was approved by UL as a recognized student organization in February 2010 and has been hosting bi-monthly meetings. SEA has had two presentation sessions on topics such as writing effective business plans and basics of the stock market. They have also hosted talk sessions with successful local entrepreneurs such as Thomas Chance (President, C&C Technologies Inc.), Henry Florsheim (CEO, Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise), and Billy and Denny Guilbeaux (founders, Southside Bakery).

In the spring semester, SEA organized its first virtual stock portfolio management competition to educate members about the basics of the stock market and to promote the importance of knowledge about the business world. The competition began in March and will end in August, with the top two winners receiving a cash prize.

SEA plans to enter a team in a local business plan competition offered in the College of Business Administration in the fall semester as Management 460- Section 001. This is a team project and teams must consist of between two and six members. This course is for non-employee students enrolled in the current academic year. Participation as part of a team does not require that the student be enrolled in the class; however, the student will have to commit to fulfilling their responsibilities and completing the course. The winners of this competition will be eligible to compete in the Tulane International Business Plan Competition (tulanebusinessplancompetition.com), which offers a cash award of $50,000 for first place. More information about this competition will be available on SEA’s website during the fall 2010 semester.

SEA is affiliated with both the College of Engineering and the College of Business at the University of Louisiana and has two faculty advisors Dr. Jim Lee (Engineering) and Dr. Lee Hisey (Business). This dual affiliation is due to the founders’ belief that technology and business form a powerful combination which can give rise to successful startups. The founders also strongly believe that diversity of skills and opinions is key to the success of enterprises. Thus, membership in SEA is open to UL students from all majors. Nick Pugh (Chairman of the Board, Datacom), who has been actively involved with the College of Engineering over the past several years, has agreed to serve as the industry mentor for the group.

Future plans of SEA include organizing and hosting a southern regional entrepreneurship conference. SEA officers believe that hosting such an event will be a great way to bring people together, providing students with an unparalleled opportunity to interact with and learn from accomplished individuals and to establish useful contacts. SEA believes that the students will not be the only ones to benefit from such a conference; it will be beneficial to the university as well. A conference will provide opportunities for university officials and faculty to interface with business leaders and will send out the message that UL is committed to promoting entrepreneurship and excellence among its students.

More information about SEA can be found here.

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