Speakers to encourage entrepreneurship at REDI conference at MU

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | 7:33 p.m. CST; updated 8:56 a.m. CST, Wednesday, January 23, 2013

COLUMBIA — Residents can hear from innovators who are utilizing new technologies to run successful businesses at a conference called #BOOM at MU on Friday.

Speakers will include Newsy President Jim Spencer, two sisters who created clear boots with interchangeable liners, and Jeremy Johnson, co-founder and president of 2U, a company that helps universities develop online degree programs.

Sarah Hill, social media strategist for Veterans United Home Loans and former KOMU-TV anchor, will emcee the event, which is sponsored by Regional Economic Development, Inc. 

“The speakers will talk about their successes, their failures, and hopefully light the fire for those in the audience,” said Sean Siebert, the event's chairman.

Twenty individuals from Columbia's business elite were recruited to help organize the event, Siebert said. 

The group secured three local, three regional and four national entrepreneurs to speak. The keynote speakers will appear either in person or via a Google Hangout, where Hill will open the event to an international audience.

“I would describe the audience as what I call ‘social era entrepreneurs,’ so basically if you’re in to innovation and you want to be inspired, this event is for you,” Siebert said. “This is really a day to immerse yourself in a culture of innovated people.”

KOPN radio host Tyree Byndom is trying to increase the number of minority attendees. Byndom is starting a Facebook contest that would award minority adults and students admission to the event, which costs $15 for students and $35 for the public. 

“For households that are close to the poverty level or below, they have to figure out ways to make their own income,” Byndom said. “So being an entrepreneur is something they have to learn anyway, but they don’t realize they’re being an entrepreneur."

#BOOM will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Reynolds Alumni Center on MU's campus, and will be followed by an after party at Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar, according to the event website. Tickets are available on the website, where the conference will be streamed live. 

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Tyree Byndom January 23, 2013 | 1:40 a.m.

Here is the Facebook event if you are interested in a scholarship. Going fast.

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