During the Thanksgiving holiday, four Collins College of Professional Studies students (Jervel Plaisir, graduate student majoring in Integrated Advertising Communications; Chandler Bishop, undergraduate student majoring in Advertising Communications; Kayla Copeland, undergraduate student majoring in Communication Arts; and Michael Parnell, undergraduate student majoring in Communication Arts) and former entrepreneur and current Associate Professor of Sport Management David P. Hedlund, travelled to the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, known locally as the Hogeschool Rotterdam in the Netherlands, to participate in the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) with more than 900 other local and international students from around the globe.
The five days of events and activities, were headlined by the Wicked Ideation Battle Rotterdam (WIBR); and there were numerous topical presentations from local entrepreneurs and faculty about important topics in entrepreneurship. Conference attendees also toured and met with local entrepreneurs, where they had the opportunity to network and discuss business and entrepreneurial opportunities and challenges.
In the headlining event, the WIBR challenge, diverse teams of 3-5 students were tasked with reimagining and then pitching ideas for how to modernize, rework or update the current educational system for entrepreneurship students. All four St. John’s University students were separated into different groups, and during activities and early-round competitions, pitched ideas about ways to transform the education of entrepreneurs. At the end of the week, Jervel Plaisir and his group members from Israel and the Netherlands found themselves vying for the championship against two other international teams. The title of their pitch “Students in the Lead,” combined principles from student-led education, experiential learning opportunities and mentoring. They spoke passionately during their 3-minute pitch about the benefits and opportunities associated with having students lead and take more responsibility in their education. After the judges’ deliberations were concluded, Jervel and his group members won the 2019 WIBR competition. Dr. Hedlund praised Jervel and his team saying “Jervel and his group members epitomized the down-to-Earth, hard-working, passionate and persuasive qualities I would expect from real life entrepreneurs asking investors and venture capitalists for large investments in their ideas and companies.” And Professor Feinstein called Jervel “a creative soul.”
The students enjoyed their time in Rotterdam and were honored to be able to participate in this opportunity. Jervel noted that “The time that I spent with my peers and fellow competitors confirmed that we are the future, and we have a hand in changing our society.” Chandler Bishop called the experience “extremely rewarding” and “one she will never forget.” Michael Parnell said this opportunity was “eye-opening.” Finally, Kayla Copeland called the conference a “lifetime opportunity.”
Dr. Hedlund concluded that “St. John’s University, and the Collins College of Professional Studies in particular, take pride in thinking and working outside the traditional ‘box’ of education. We can teach students about entrepreneurship in the classroom, or we can introduce alternative educational opportunities such as ‘Pitch Johnny,’ the ‘Design Factory,’ and participation in events and competitions locally and around the world such as the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Week. This week, I believe the students learned more about what it takes to be successful and the pitfalls to avoid in relation to entrepreneurship than anything they could have experienced in a classroom. Moreover, the students gained new insights and understanding of the opportunities and challenges of starting a business."
To learn more about Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019 click here.