sammy schwartz

Sammy Schwartz, a senior studying entrepreneurship at Millikin University, prepares a coffee order at Blue Brew, a student-run coffee shop in the Hickory Point Bank Building in downtown Decatur. But his plan is to one day own a food selling mac'n' cheese burgers.

One of the great things about going out of your way to help other people, is that from time to time it turns in your favor.

This recently happened to me.

You see, I’m in the middle of a busy semester, helping out with recruiting events, launching a student-run venture and coordinating a national conference taking place in Hollywood, Calif. – just to name a few things.

So, this article kept getting pushed down on my priority list. That is, until one of my students said, “If there is anything I can do you for, let me know.”

I said, “If only you could write this article for me!” And he joyfully replied in the affirmative, only to be crushed by me two seconds later. “No way,” even though he really is the best writer I’ve seen come through here.

I just didn’t feel comfortable asking him to write something FOR me. But, it did give me an idea. What if I devoted the article to some of the regular, every day, amazing students whose lives have been impacted by entrepreneurship education?

I crossed my fingers and sent out an email (some of them still use email), and within two hours I had some solid responses.

Here are some that spoke to me about entrepreneurship education at Millikin.

Sammy Schwartz is a senior entrepreneurship major who has been market testing an idea for a food truck selling mac ‘n’ cheese burgers with his own homemade recipe.

“For me, it’s something that I’ve always wanted to study because I’ve always wanted to own my own food truck.” And for future students with any interest in entrepreneurship he advises “…be involved in anything and everything because the opportunities are endless.”

Sammy has learned that the joy of cooking burgers and feeding hungry people is not the same as running a food truck business. It’s hard to do both.

Mikayla Krieger is a digital media marketing and management double major, and she is on the management team at Blue Brew Coffee Shop as a sophomore. She has this advice to give high school students.

“I would DEFINITELY recommend entrepreneurship courses. Entrepreneurship teaches you skills that can be applied and used in almost every aspect of the business world. And I can honestly say that learning and participating in entrepreneurship activities has helped me develop into the kind of business student that I am today.”

Laura Nearing is a junior biology student who went to the innovation competition with all business students in Denmark and gained a lot more from her international entrepreneurship experience than she expected.

She fearlessly threw herself into the innovation team and learned the process being used to create new and unique ideas.

My favorite quote from Laura had nothing to do with innovation or entrepreneurship, but had everything to do with the brilliance of cultural differences.

“When we were working on our business idea, one of the students sneezed, and all of the Danish students said ‘prosit,’ which means, ‘may it help.’ I was the only person to say ‘bless you.’ They all looked at me like I was crazy! I guess the students never heard ‘bless you’ in response to a sneeze, and it started a really funny conversation about weird Danish and English words.”

Laura’s team won the challenge, by the way. “Bless you,” indeed!

Julie Shields is the director of Millikin University's Center for Entrepreneurship.

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