By Charlie Fischer ’24 and Derin Whitaker ’24
On Friday, January 13, the MICDS Young Entrepreneurs Club led by Charlie Fischer ’24 and Derin Whitaker ’24 hosted guest speaker Lewis Sheats, the Executive Director of the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University. Mr. Sheats is a teacher and mentor at SLU and has started many businesses across the country. He used to be the director of the Entrepreneurship Program at North Carolina State University.
Photos below by Noah Macam ’23
During the meeting, which had an attendance of around 20 people, there was an open-ended conversation where students asked questions. Additionally, Derin and Charlie asked questions that members of the club submitted before the meeting. Club members asked questions that were answered by Mr. Sheats about business, entrepreneurship, and the qualities of a business person. At the end of the meeting, Mr. Sheats handed out “swag,” sometimes referred to as merchandise, from SLU for people who attended. Our club learned so much. Many of our members said that this is the best meeting we have had all year. The people who heard Mr. Sheats learned a lot and will use that information for the rest of their lives.
Some of the highlights of what he talked about included the idea of taking risks in order to be successful. He also talked about how to get funding for your business and idea. Mr. Sheats shared about his experiences of pitching ideas to investment panels in order to jump-start his business. We learned about product market fit which is basically looking at your product and seeing if it will thrive in the current economy. Researching your product and seeing if it is already present in the market is important as well as looking at the new, hot topics and items to see if your product will succeed.
“The session was very informative and inspired me and many of my peers to believe that anyone can start a business and anyone can be successful, » Derin said. « Mr. Sheats went into great detail about how he operated his past businesses, inspiring the new generation of MICDS entrepreneurs.”
Charlie said, “Getting Mr. Sheats to come to MICDS and speak was a great moment for our club. I hope this has inspired us to work hard and be successful as a club. He is a mentor and a leader in our community in St. Louis. The whole experience was impactful for me and I hope it was for everyone who attended.”
Tanay Goel ’24 is inspired « to keep trying new things to become a better version of myself and achieve new perspectives in different fields. »
Another student, Max Garcia ’24, said, « Mr. Sheats sparked an entrepreneurial interest that I previously did not know I had. His informative presentation taught me about the importance of things like « product market fit » and creating a product for something you care about. I learned the importance of determination and communication, and I am excited to continue exploring the entrepreneurial and business world. »