Annual Carole Moore McLeod Entrepreneur Summit to be held Nov. 10 at Appalachian State University

The Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship and the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University will host the fourteenth annual Carole Moore McLeod Entrepreneur Summit on Friday, November 10 in the Plemmons Student Union (PSU) on the university campus.

The long-standing event brings entrepreneurs from a variety of industries to campus to share advice on starting a business with students and community members.

The keynote address, Entrepreneurial DNA: The Makeup of Successful Business Leaders, will be delivered by Donald Thompson, CEO of Creative Allies, an integrated marketing firm that focuses on helping consumer brands execute marketing campaigns, engage customers, and acquire millennials. Thompson was appointed to the NC Board of Science, Technology and Innovation, was named among the Top 25 Technical Professionals in Research Triangle Park, NC by Business Leader Magazine, and is franchise owner for the Navi Mumbai Sabers of the Elite Football League of India and the High Country Grizzlies of the American Indoor Football League.

Participants will choose to attend one of three focus sessions.

  • Maria Bridges, a marketing and brand development consultant, will present The Heart & Soul of Entrepreneurship. Bridges' expertise is using intentional and engaging marketing and driving customer engagement, service, positivity and revenue.
  • Betsy Houser Idilbi, founder of Tech Talent South, will present When to Stop Bootstrapping and Find an Investor. Idilbi has been listed as one of the 25 people to know in the startup scene in Charlotte, named one of the 7 people to watch in Charlotte in 2016, and honored by the Charlotte Business Journal as a 2016 Woman of the Year.
  • Kristie Nystedt, founder of the Raleigh Brewing Company, will present Create your own Golden Parachute with Entrepreneurship. Nystedt is the first female owner of a North Carolina craft brewery. She manages three synergistic companies including Raleigh Brewing Company, Atlantic Brew Supply, and ABS Commercial.

Participants will also choose to attend two of ten breakout sessions.

  • Cole Maita, Eric Schlicher and Zak Ammar will present Get Started Online.
  • Jessica Stansberry of will present Building your Business Online
  • Stephanie Andrews of Enventys will present Crowdfunding to Kickstart Your Business.  
  • Dana Dorroh, an award-winning entrepreneur, investor, and small business advocate, will present Women in Entrepreneurship.
  • Justin Bellame of JB Media Group will present Social Media Marketing.
  • Erika McGilley of Natural Capital Investment Fund will present Loan Options for Startups.
  • Mark Bailey, CPA will present Basics of Accounting for Entrepreneurs.
  • Tyler Moffatt, Attorney at Law, will present The Legal Aspect of Entrepreneurship.
  • Boomer Sassman of Big Boom Design will present Leveraging Digital Technologies in Website Design.
  • Tim Herdklotz of BooneShine will present Turning Passion into Profits.

A VIP luncheon is available to a limited number of early registrants. The luncheon speaker will be Tim Ferris, founder of Defiant Marine, Inc. Defiant offers marine salvage services globally and distills Defiant Marine whiskey.

The summit is named for Carole Moore McLeod, a 1981 graduate of the Walker College of Business, in recognition of her gift, which provides ongoing support of the program. 

For speakers' bios, complete session details, or to register online, visit:

Events Logistics and Online Registration

The event is open to the public with no fee to attend.

It begins at 9:00 a.m. in the PSU's Grandfather Mountain Ballroom. Free parking is available on campus for community members. Contact TICFE Program Specialist Sara Figlow,, for additional information.

Register online by November 3.

Big Idea Pitch Competition

Held in conjunction with the Entrepreneur Summit, the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship will hold its annual Big Idea Pitch Competition November 10 at 3:30 p.m. in the Parkway Ballroom.

Select students (or groups of students) will present their best new venture ideas for the chance to win prize money ($1000 for first place, $500 for second place, $250 for third place, $500 audience choice).

The competition is open to Appalachian  students of all majors, and the 10 most innovative ideas are selected based on creativity, viability and scalability.

The 10 finalists will make a 3-minute pitch to a panel of entrepreneur judges at 3:30 p.m., and the judges will provide feedback before selecting the most promising ideas. 

The Big Idea Pitch Competition application deadline is October 27. All applicants are encouraged to visit the Center for Entrepreneurship for advice and coaching. Submit your idea online at

The pitch competition is open to the public with no fee to attend; there is no registration required for the pitch competition.

Annual Carole Moore McLeod Entrepreneur Summit to be held Nov. 10 at Appalachian State University
Published: Oct 9, 2017 8:30pm