Updated March 22 at 6:45pm

Johnson & Wales to host entrepreneur day


PROVIDENCE – Johnson & Wales University has organized a program to highlight entrepreneurship opportunities for its students, including a $5,000 grand-prize pitch contest.

The BYOB – Be Your Own Boss – day will take place on Dec. 13 from 9:20 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Pepsi Forum in Wales Hall, 8 Abbott Park Place in Providence for JWU students only.

The program will include workshops, panel discussions and the “Shark Tank” competition for nine people.

“We want our students to think about the possibilities of entrepreneurship, whether they are majoring in culinary, hospitality, business or technology,” said John Robitaille, executive in residence at the JWU Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship.

“Be your own boss can be one option for our graduates, creating a business that employs one, some or many. At JWU, we are developing young and aspiring entrepreneurs by providing them business fundamentals, along with experiential learning opportunities to work within early-stage enterprises. The goal is to transform individuals into entrepreneurs and assist them in turning their ideas into viable commercial or social enterprises,” Robitaille said.

The schedule is:

  • 9:20 a.m. - Opening video featuring JWU alumni entrepreneurs

  • 9:25 a.m. - Welcome, Jeffrey Senese, JWU vice president of academic affairs

  • 9:30 a.m. - “Do You Have What it Takes?” John Robitaille, JWU executive in residence

  • 10:00 a.m. - “Building Businesses that Address Social Challenges” Kelly Ramirez, executive director, Social Venture Partners R.I.

  • 10:30 a.m. - “Does Mikey Like it and How Will You Know?” JWU College of Business Associate Professors John Krupa and Tony Fruzzetti

  • 11:30 a.m. - Lunch break

  • 12:15 p.m. - “We Did It and So Can You” JWU alumni panel discussion

  • 1:15 p.m. - “Unleash Your Creative Self” JWU School of Arts & Sciences Professor Anice O’Connor

  • 1:45 p.m. - Shark Tank Competition, nine JWU students competing, judged by four JWU professors

  • 3:00 p.m. - Shark Tank Competition winner announced


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