Ole Miss graduate David Flynn began his entrepreneurial ventures in high school with a security app, Safer in Seconds, but felt that he lacked the proper avenues execute some of his bigger ideas.
Last year, Flynn attended the CIE’s REDe Summit and found other people who, like him, had a vision but needed direction.
He’s now the founder of his own digital presence management business, Unbridled Group LLC, which helps businesses manage their websites, social media presence and search engine analytics. Flynn attributes his success to what he learned through attending the summit and his relationship with the CIE.
“I learned what it takes to be successful — the grit, the perseverance required to push through all of the challenges present when it comes to entrepreneurship,” Flynn said.
The CIE has seen over 40 companies created by its members in the six years they have been on campus, an impressive number for a relatively unknown portion of the university’s student resources.
This year’s summit will focus on entrepreneurial change. In addition to Ashlee Ammons, co-founder of Mixtroz and the summit’s introductory speaker, there will be an entrepreneurial change panel discussion featuring business people from MortgageTrade, Lenny’s Sub Shop and the online vehicle marketplace, Carvana.
CIE program director Tong Meng believes that regardless of one’s field of study, this summit could help anyone who hopes to improve their critical thinking skills.
“You won’t have all of the skillsets through one talk or through one panel discussion,” Meng said, “but just learning from those entrepreneur’s experiences, their stories and finding a relatable experience among our students, that could be inspiring.”
Meng wants students to know that while the CIE is part of the business school, both their office and this event are open to the public.
In addition to the CIE, Ole Miss has the Entrepreneurship Club, which is also open to students from all fields of study and allows students to work in the CIE office.
Maverick McSparin, co-president of the UM Entrepreneurship Club, believes this year’s summit will provide students with real-world examples of entrepreneurial ventures and create an environment that cultivates innovation.
“We’ve got people in our club who are computer science majors, biology, (management information systems), all those types of aspects from all around campus,” McSparin said. “So that’s where I think the REDe Summit is a very integral part of pretty much developing an idea and understanding how entrepreneurship can affect all of those schools.”
McSparin added that while the speakers and panelists are entrepreneurs, their experience spans across a broad range of fields, and that they can provide quality advice for those ready to act upon their business ideas.
Flynn agreed with McSparin. From the app he made in high school to a social media platform called Hangaround that connects aviators, Flynn has been involved with multiple entrepreneurial ventures.
His most successful venture, Unbridled Group LLC, is also his newest, and it was created prior the 2018-19 summit. After attending and having an active relationship with the CIE, he found that the information he learned could make his business ideas work more cohesively.
“There’s a lot of resources that Ole Miss offers when it comes to entrepreneurship, and a lot of people don’t know about them,” Flynn said. “I think that’s why they’re hosting this event: to gain a little bit of traction and get more awareness about what they can offer students who have ideas.”
Outside of the summit, the CIE offers walk-in entrepreneurial advice in their office from both student and faculty advisors, as well as entrepreneurial competitions where students can win prize money to help bring their ideas to life.
This year’s summit will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m. in the student union ballroom.