Panel discussion on paths to successful startups, guest lecture highlight Purdue Global Entrepreneurship Week events

November 7, 2012  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Global Entrepreneurship Week activities next week at Purdue University will feature a panel discussion of successful and aspiring entrepreneurs in an event sponsored by the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program.

Student Entrepreneurs and Beyond, a panel discussion of current and former Purdue students, will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 13) in Stewart Center, Room 206, in conjunction with entrepreneurship capstone classes. A networking reception will follow.

Award-winner entrepreneur Neli Vazquez-Rowland, named Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago magazine in 2010, also will speak at 10:30 a.m. and again at noon Tuesday (Nov. 13) in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121.

"The Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program's contribution to Global Entrepreneurship Week this year offers an exciting look from current Purdue students and recent graduates who are demonstrating the passion needed to start and operate their own companies," said Nathalie Duval-Couetil, director of the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program and a professor of technology leadership and innovation.

The Purdue students participating in the panel are Andrew Blejde, creator of, an application that connects other businesses by engaging and rewarding customers; and Andrew Linfoot and Chris MacPherson, creators of flavorless powdered energy drink company Kyk Energy.

Panelists also will include Purdue alumnus Jeffrey Rieger, founder of the Cambridge, Mass.-based specialty temperature measurement company FreshTemp; and Cory Clark, who has launched GreenSuite, an Indianapolis-based software platform designed to assist utilities and their customers in operating more efficiently by providing usage data management and analysis.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week events are free and open the public, but organizers encourage those interested to register because space is limited. To RSVP, contact Jessie Thayer, For more information about the event, contact Jeanette Greener, manager of the Certificate for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, 765-494-1314,

Vazquez-Rowland's talk to Purdue students in the class ENTR 20000: Her experience growing up in an immigrant entrepreneurial family, becoming the first in a family of seven to go to college, and turning around a family member's addiction problem to help others.

Touched personally by a family experience with alcoholism, she and her husband realized there was a tremendous need for supportive housing for people that are homeless and living in poverty, many of whom are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. 

The result: A Safe Haven Foundation, a network of solutions including housing, social services and businesses. Now the nation's largest social and economic development model, A Safe Haven has served more than 44,000 people.

Purdue's Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program has enrolled more than 4,000 undergraduate students since it began in 2005. Similar to a minor, the program is designed to begin by a student’s sophomore year and can be completed in approximately four semesters. It has attracted students from every school and college. It is led by the Office of the Provost and housed in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Thousands of events in more than 100 countries will celebrate innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012, running from Nov. 12-18. Now in its fifth year, the event will bring together aspiring and inspiring entrepreneurs, helping them embrace originality, imagination and ingenuity through local, national and global activities.

The event has grown since its start in 2008, as more than 10 million people in 102 countries are expected to participate this year. In 2009 more than 7.5 million people took part in an estimated 32,000 events across 88 countries.

Co-founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the world's largest foundation dedicated to entrepreneurship, and Enterprise UK, a business-led, government-backed campaign in the United Kingdom, Global Entrepreneurship Week helps develop young people's knowledge, skills and networks to inspire them to grow sustainable enterprises.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Source: Nathalie Duval-Couetil, 765-494-7068,

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