Entrepreneurship Expo returns with courage

Jacqueline Khorassani addressing the crowd

Months of uncertainty and fear haven’t dampened all the courageous pioneering spirit in the region.

Returning for a sixth year with in-person connection, discussion, and inspiration on September 23rd, the Riverview Credit Union Mid-Ohio Valley Entrepreneurship Expo (MOVEE) at Marietta College kicks off in the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center with registration beginning at 11:30 a.m. and the Keynote Luncheon beginning at noon.

MOVEE is a one-day conference that brings together existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, educators, and resource providers to learn from each other and expand their network. 

“One of our main goals is to provide a venue for everybody to get together in a very informal non-threatening, and friendly environment, to build and expanded their network,” said Dr. Jacqueline Khorassani, Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at Marietta College and Professor of Economics and Entrepreneurship. “Because especially after a year of Zooming, we lost that connection opportunity. ... We have a big physical space at Marietta College that allows us to bring everyone under the same roof. We are open to all entrepreneurs and entrepreneur ‘wannabes,’ of all ages, levels of education, and levels of interest.”

With the support of the Marietta Community Foundation and the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, the exposure to courageous and empathetic problem-solving within entrepreneurship can begin with regional high schoolers rubbing elbows, engaging in discussion, and observing the resources available to pioneer here in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“Belpre High School is sending over 12 students to attend MOVEE. Several students from Marietta High School and Veritas Classical Academy are also attending. Hopefully, we will hear from other schools across the Ohio Valley too,” Khorassani said. “This whole event is an eye-opener for high school students. We are inviting them into the same room with seasoned entrepreneurs and educators. It’s empowering to them and many of the topics discussed don’t go over their heads.”

With approximately 40 student spots sponsored, seats remain open and for the claiming.

Whether you are planning to attend yourself or send your student, prepare, first, for hands-on inspiration with what Khorassani describes as an interactive speaker who won’t stay at the podium as they engage the audience in thinking with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Dr. Heidi Neck, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, describes this mindset as the “courage to act on opportunities under varying conditions of unknowingness.”

In laymen’s terms, the courage to take the risk, as Khorassani said.

“Entrepreneurial thought and action are not necessarily only for startups, it’s good for everyone in all aspects of their lives,” Khorassani explained between shifts of folders labeled for the five tracks offered this year in breakout sessions after the keynote address and activity. 

Those tracks move visitors across the Pioneer campus from the recreation center past the Legacy Library and on to either Thomas Hall or the McDonough Leadership Center.

  • Track 1: Growth & Expansion
  • Track 2: Management & Strategy
  • Track 3: Stand Out & Speak Up
  • Track 4: Social Entrepreneurship & Nonprofits
  • Track 5: Law & Order

New this year, the final two tracks join the ranks of the educational expo, each offering specific guidance to those within legal and nonprofit professions.

“And for the lawyers, certified continuing legal education credits, we’ve received that accreditation,” said Khorassani, pointing to the Supreme Court of Ohio letter affirming the certification.

The expo concludes with a business after-hours networking event returning attendees to the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center. The 5:00-7:00 p.m. networking mixer collaborates with the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley, and the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce. 

See a detailed program at https://www.marietta.edu/movexpo-program.

This year’s expo is made possible through the investment and dedication of local sponsors, including Riverview Credit Union, Clutch MOV, the Economic Roundtable of the Mid-Ohio Valley, First Settlement Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, WTAP Television, Bernard McDonough Foundation, Armour Life Sciences, TechGrowthOhio, Epic Mission, United Bank, WV Social Media Consultants LLC, Social Enterprise Ecosystem, Fairfield by Marriott, Peoples Bank, Qdoba, Passiflora Studio, Wings Etc., Udells' Affordable In Home Care Inc., ArtaBella, Appalachian Renewable Power, AT&T, The Cleaning Bee Cleaning Service LLC, First Microloan of West Virginia, First Mutual Bank, Huntington Bank, LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network, Mid-Ohio Valley Employment, Northwestern Mutual Parkersburg, the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority and Tenney & Associates.