Annual entrepreneur summit serves as forum for innovators, students

Brian Adcock giving keynote address at Entrepreneur SummitThe 12th Carole Moore McLeod Entrepreneur Summit on Nov. 13 was a forum for students and community members to learn from and be inspired by successful business owners.

Approximately 400 students and community members interested in owning their own business attended, to from the experts in the Plemmons Student Union on the campus of Appalachian State University.

Brandon Adcock, a 2006 graduate of Appalachian's Walker College of Business and co-founder and CEO of Digital Direct LLC, delivered a keynote address titled "Entrepreneurial Success in an Increasingly Digital World."

Direct Digital is a pioneer in health and wellness and owns many of the leading wellness and nutritional supplements on the market. Adcock has been a member of the Appalachian State University Foundation Board of Directors since November 2011 and chairs the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship's Advisory Board.

Participants then chose one of three focus sessions to attend: "How to Think Like an Angel Investor" with Inception Micro Angel Fund founder Timothy Janke; "You've Got a Great Idea, What Next?" with Edison Nation CEO Louis Foreman; and "Tales from the Shark Tank" with Frill Clothing founder Kate Steadman.

Participants then worked in small group breakout sessions with entrepreneurs from successful regional businesses, including Appalachia Cookie Company, Ole Mason Jar, Big Boom Design, MobRocket, Global Fashion Group, Stonegate Developers, Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Center45.

Donald Thompson Jr. delivered comments at the noon luncheon and advised attendees how to "Break Down Barriers and Reach New Heights in Business." Thompson is an author, advisor and serial entrepreneur who has served as CEO of I-Cubed, a leader in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software and consulting and supply chain analytics. He grew the organization from 16 to 130 employees until it was purchased in 2014 by global technology enterprise KPIT. Thompson was recently appointed to the N.C. Board of Science, Technology and Innovation.

"We at the Walker College recognize the importance of innovation in the business world and aim to prepare our graduates to fill the needs of the marketplace as well as the community, both locally and globally," said Walker College Dean Heather Norris. "The partnership of entrepreneurs is inspiring to our students and helps connects their academic experiences to the business world, which creates transformational educational experiences, both inside and outside the classroom."

The entrepreneur summit is named for Carole Moore McLeod in recognition of a gift that provides ongoing support of the entrepreneurship program. McLeod is a 1981 business graduate of the Walker College of Business and owner of Advantage Waste Recycling & Disposal Inc.

The summit is sponsored by the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship and the Walker College of Business and Life Store Bank and Skyline Skybest were 2015 event sponsors.

Brian Adcock giving keynote address at Entrepreneur Summit
Published: Nov 16, 2015 12:00pm