Established, aspiring Tacoma business owners celebrate National Entrepreneurship Week

The Tacoma Entrepreneur Network: College Edition is celebrating the sixth annual National Entrepreneurship Week, established by the U.S. Congress in 2006, with a series of field trips to local entrepreneurial organizations. Students at University of Puget Sound, University of Washington Tacoma, Pacific Lutheran University, and The Evergreen State College Tacoma are invited to join these field trips and learn more about local entrepreneurs and what an entrepreneurial career path might be.

The field trip line-up includes the following:

Mon., Feb. 20 @ 4 p.m. | Mountain Muesli — Started in 2011 by entrepreneur Chris Young, Mountain Muesli has grown significantly in its first year. Muesli cereal, muesli bars, and muesli mini-bites are sold in retail outlets from Mountlake Terrace to Bellevue to Olympia—and, of course, in several locations in Tacoma. These treats are made with all natural ingredients, mostly organic, locally sourced (where possible), and use natural sweeteners. The students will visit this production facility and hear how Young is handling increasing demand;

Tues., Feb. 21 @ 10 a.m. | Print NW — Not a new venture, Print NW demonstrates how entrepreneurial organizations move through the growth phase. Though the printing industry is challenged by electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets, Print NW continues to innovate and grow, posting increased earnings this year at nearly $13 million. Entrepreneur Jeff Stallings will lead the students through Print NW’s production facility and discuss how the company pushes through boundaries;

Weds., Feb. 22 @ 5 p.m. | Fab 5 — An urban arts education organization that reaches underserved youth. Fab 5 exudes social entrepreneurship daily as they inspire and challenge youth through arts such as DJing, graffiti arts, and breakdancing. Social entrepreneur Eddie Sumlin will lead the tour and the college students will have an opportunity to interact with the Fab 5 youth;

Thurs., Feb. 23 @ 2 p.m. | 253heart — An arts company that produces the iconic 253 heart products. Steve Nacarrato is a serial entrepreneur (former entrepreneurial ventures include restaurants and photography) who spreads the 253 heart image seen on window clings, T-shirts, skateboards, jewelry, and more. He is widening the circle by commissioning other local artists to design products that showcase Tacoma’s local creative energy and spirit;

Fri., Feb. 24 @ 4 p.m. | X Group Restaurants (parent company of Masa, Asado, E9, and Choripan by Asado) — Brothers John and Luke Xitco provide role models for aspiring restaurant entrepreneurs with their creation of Masa; Asado; and their new Choripan by Asado, at the Museum of Glass. X Group also recently purchased the classic brewing pub, E9. Challenges, successes, and future innovations will be shared with students.

In addition to the field trips, the Tacoma Entrepreneur Network: College Edition will sponsor a party to celebrate National Entrepreneurship Week on Fri., Feb. 24 at 5 p.m., at Masa. Local entrepreneurs as well as the college students are invited to the party, which will feature a nacho bar. Elected officials and the press are also invited.

The Tacoma Entrepreneur Network: College Edition was launched in November 2011 to enable Tacoma’s college students to explore and build entrepreneurial careers. The Innovate! Create! event in November launched the network, with creative collaboration by college students focused on the issue of modeling a start-up venture in solid waste.

Currently a loose collaboration between the four four-year higher education institutions in Tacoma, the network is expected to have a student leadership team in place this spring. Each campus will form an entrepreneurship club, with representatives from each campus joining the student leadership team for the network. Most events will take place at the network level.

Entrepreneurs and those in related occupations may support the network by considering mentorship of college students, field trip sites, dining with small groups of students, or other opportunities. For more information on the network and its events, please visit the Facebook page .

The network creation has been led by Lynnette Claire, associate professor in the School of Business and Leadership at University of Puget Sound. Network development has been supported by the Nat S. and Marian W. Professorship at University of Puget Sound. Additional support has been provided by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation. National Enterpreneurship Week was created by the U.S. Congress in 2006 when it passed the House of Representatives Resolution No. 699 with the aim of celebrating American entrepreneurs and of encouraging the lifelong learning educational opportunities that prepare the new business leaders of the future. It is hosted annually by the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education.

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