Business & Society

USU's Intermountain Growth Summit Helps Entrepreneurs Expand Business Locally

By Megan Parker |

Keynote speakers at the Intermountain Growth Summit include author and speaker Arshay Cooper, Zartico CEO Sarah Lehman, and Utah State Aggies men's basketball head coach Ryan Odom.

Utah State University's Jon M. Huntsman School of Business will host an Intermountain Growth Summit for owners of small and medium-sized businesses Friday, Oct. 1. The summit will connect entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders with brilliant and innovative community-based business leaders across the region.

“Utah is known for being an entrepreneurial state,” said Russell Fisher, associate director of The Center for Entrepreneurship at the Huntsman School. “There tends to be a lot of focus on tech-based companies, but the vast majority of small businesses and startups across the Intermountain West are Main Street-type businesses, like a car maintenance operation or a shop selling handmade home decor.”

The Intermountain Growth Summit provides a forum for owners and managers of small companies to come together to workshop and learn from experts as well as other small business owners. The event is also free of charge for registrants, in part through the generosity of event sponsors, and in part through Utah State University’s land-grant mission, Fisher said, to help strengthen towns and communities through local entrepreneurism.

The summit will kick off with a showing of the critically acclaimed film, A Most Beautiful Thing, the inspiring true story of a group of young men growing up on Chicago's West side who form the first all-Black high school rowing team in the nation. The film is based on the memoir of author Arshay Cooper, who will be in attendance for a question-and-answer period following the screening.

Cooper, who is also a rower, motivational speaker and volunteer for numerous community outreach organizations, will deliver a keynote address on “Building a Community.”

Sarah Lehman, CEO of Zartico and former CEO and President of ENVE Composites, will also give a keynote address on “Building a Business.” Lehman helped lead ENVE, one of the foremost cycling businesses in the industry, from start-up to acquisition. She was named CEO of the Year by Utah Business Magazine, Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and earned the Women in Technology Award.

Ryan Odom, head coach of Utah State Aggies men's basketball team, will deliver a third keynote on “Building a Team.” Odom is the previous head coach of the Lenoir–Rhyne Bears and the UMBC Retrievers, where they made NCAA history by becoming the only 16th seeded team ever to beat a #1 seed.

The summit will also feature presentations on brand building and strategy by Huntsman School faculty Antje Graul and Chris Corcoran, respectively. Additionally, there will be panel discussions on how to manage change, and adapt and grow through adversity, which will feature Kelsey and Brian Weller of Moonbeam Apparel, Danny Noall of Infuze Hydration, Seth Christensen of Christensen Genetics, Scott Hammond of the Huntsman School and Jennie Taylor, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Utah.

“Our number one goal is to help entrepreneurs be able to go through difficult situations and come out triumphant on the other side,” said Fisher. “Covid put into stark relief the need for flexible business operations and strategic focus. We want to help business owners and community leaders gain the tools they need to create successful local businesses that build and maintain vibrant communities across the Intermountain West.”

The Intermountain Growth Awards, which will be presented at the summit, highlight companies and entrepreneurs that are adapting and growing in the midst of challenge, and those that are actively contributing to their local communities. The Pathfinder Award, for organizations that experienced significant growth through innovation, will be given to Kodiak Cakes and Christensen Genetics. The Bedrock Award, which celebrates organizations that support and operate in local Intermountain economies, will be presented to EP Systems and ASI. The Touchstone Award, which focuses on exceptional organizations that have benefited the communities in which they operate over multiple decades, will be presented to Honeyville and MarketStar. The Beacon Award, given to an individual that stands as a shining example of community-focused entrepreneurial spirit and leadership, will be presented to Ty Measom, founder of Camp Chef.

More than 160 individuals registered for the event, with an extensive waitlist. Keynote addresses will be made available online after the event.

For questions or more information, contact Russell Fisher at 435-797-2272 or igs@usu.edu.

WRITER

Megan Parker
Public Relations Specialist
Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
917-733-6675
megan.parker@usu.edu

CONTACT

Megan Parker
Public Relations Specialist
Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
917-733-6675
megan.parker@usu.edu


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