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National business leader returns to CMU for Entrepreneurship Day

Visionary innovator among university’s high profile alumni

Grand Junction – Colorado Mesa University’s 2019 Entrepreneurship Day event featured keynote speaker and CMU alumnus Matt Rissell, the co-founder of TSheets. Rissell is a national business leader featured in Forbes, Huffington Post and other national publications.

Rissell serves on the executive committee of the Idaho Technology Council and is the recipient of numerous national awards and commendations. Rissell’s founding of TSheets in 2006 marked his sixth successful startup venture, making him one of CMU’s most visible alumni.

Rissell is known for simple and instructive advice that he has issued through national commentary. His message is one that resonates with many students when it comes to business, ideas and entrepreneurship. 

“When it comes to entrepreneurship, I believe that you should be delusional about your future while not being delusional about where you are today,” said Rissell. “This causes you to be more strategic and make bigger decisions and, on the flip side, it doesn’t allow complacency to set in by thinking ‘you’ve arrived.’ Most importantly, don’t let anyone – ever – tell you when to quit.”

Rissell’s address to students and area businesses occurred on April 2 in the Meyer Ballroom at CMU. Rissell also spoke at the Montrose campus the following day. 

The 14th annual Entrepreneurship Day event is a fundraiser for scholarships at CMU that brings visibility to the university's growing entrepreneurial endeavors. Campus leaders are excited about E Day and believe 2019 is perhaps the most anticipated year in the history of the event. 

“This year more business leaders and students are attending E Day than ever before,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “This extraordinary interest shows CMU is connected to local business in a way that will continue contributing to a stronger and more dynamic economy in the future — which is part of the mission at CMU.”

Liz Meyer, President and CEO of the CMU Foundation believes Rissell’s keynote address is contributing to the excitement. 

“The fact that Matt is one of the most successful people in the tech world, and went to CMU, is a powerful and exciting message for students in terms of what is possible for them. The fact that students are so excited, and are attending in such high numbers, is also a great opportunity for local businesses and sponsors to get to know them,” said Meyer. “E Day is a win-win for all parties involved.” 

The 2019 event sponsors include Bray Commercial, Baird, Home Loan Insurance, ProSpace, Shaw Construction, U.S. Bank, Venture Advocates, Central Distributing, Bank of Colorado, The Commerce Trust Company, Enstrom, Shear, Inc., Alpine Bank, The Daily Sentinel, FCI Constructors and ANB Bank. 

Robert Bray, CEO of Bray Real Estate believes in CMU’s role as an incubator of ideas and training ground for future business innovators. 

“There is immeasurable value in a future workforce that comes equipped with creative thinking and dynamic business skills,” said Bray. “These characteristics are reinforced during E Day, and the strong programming is why there is such broad support from local businesses for this annual event,” said Bray.

While Rissell is an event highlight, the keynote address was just one agenda item of an entire day-long itinerary of entrepreneurial celebration and business training. 

During the lunch program, CMU student entrepreneurs pitched their ideas, with interactive audience participation, as attendees voted for the best business plan. 

Georgann Jouflas, MBA, is a CMU Instructor of Business and coordinates student involvement during E Day, including the elevator pitch. 

“Each year I am so proud of the concepts and courage students demonstrate as they sell their ideas to the area business community,” said Jouflas. “Several have gone on to commercialize their ideas which is really what this entire event is all about. If our business department can help a student bring their idea to life, and use it to make a living while making the world a better place, then we are truly meeting our mission at CMU.”

First place went to Aaron Frick with Frick-in Tune, second place went to Brandon VandenBosch, Rikki Cook and Sam Seirs for Catio and third went to Austin Rickstrew and Danielle Fleig with HELP Personal Assistant.

Preceding the E day lunch, a series of educational breakout sessions occurred around campus for ongoing training and business education. 

 

 

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Written by David Ludlam