2011 Leadership Luncheon in Review
2011 Leadership Luncheon
Building upon a decade of success and excellence, UNT’s Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship looks to the future with renewed dedication and vision as it celebrated its 10-year anniversary on November 18, 2011 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.
The room is filled with some of the best and brightest business minds from the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex as they honored Craig Hall, a man that defines the term entrepreneur. Craig Hall’s distinguished career in business and as an author, civic leader and philanthropist reflects the highest qualities of entrepreneurship. He formed Hall Financial Group in 1968 at age 18 with $4,000 saved from small ventures begun at age 10. Today, the company’s diversified business interests include real estate, software development, structured finance lending, vineyards and wineries, and oil and gas. Hall actively supports new entrepreneurs and often speaks publicly about the importance of encouraging entrepreneurship worldwide. He has consistently contributed time and resources at local, national and international levels to support a variety of community causes with an emphasis on art, education and entrepreneurship. With great humility, Hall accepted the 2011 Murphy Center Entrepreneur of the year award as 600 attendees give a standing ovation. Hall encompasses and champions the kind of entrepreneurial mindset that the Murphy Center personifies.
With the dawn of a new decade of excellence, the Murphy Center issued a new award for the Entrepreneur of the year; an item that epitomizes the success and influence of entrepreneurship, the Mean Green Jacket. The Mean Green Jacket was designed by Jay Lombardo with Lombardo Custom Apparel. Lombardo is a University of North Texas alumnus and a dedicated supporter of entrepreneurship and UNT. Lombardo’s suits have covered most of professional sports greatest male athletes and have graced the high fashion of Rodeo Drive and 5th Avenue. The Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship is honored to have such support, and to begin a long standing tradition of honoring such excellence as exhibited by Lombardo and Hall.
The Luncheon was further enriched as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush expounds upon the importance of Entrepreneurial Capitalism, and the right for businesses “to rise”. He states that “we have to restore what Abraham Lincoln called ‘the fuel of interest to the fire of genius’ that lies within the soul of every man and women of commerce. We need to remember that to try and fail and try again is a mark of human courage, not human weakness.” Gov. Bush spoke upon the principles of competition and the need for our free marketplace to be free to develop. He advised that “we need to celebrate every time someone starts a business in this country. Not regulate it to death. Not block it. Not hit it with fees and registration requirements and piles of paperwork. Celebrate it. A new business. Great. Go and compete. Do your best, and make lots of money.” He concludes that “when you see someone, an entrepreneur, who has made a lot of money, don’t think of him or her as rich. Think of them as ‘formerly poor.’ Because I can tell you, that’s how they see themselves. They know what it’s like to struggle. They know what it means to stretch every dollar. They’ve been there and they don’t want to go back. That’s what Lincoln meant by the ‘fuel of interest.’” Gov. Bush set the tone for not only the luncheon, but the message and vision of the Murphy Center. Our mission is to provide opportunities and resources for our constituents to rise and compete.
Such opportunities to rise are presented at the luncheon to budding entrepreneurs that have a company idea and are ready to compete. Through our New Venture Creation Competition three teams won substancial startup capital towards their business plans: Forward Tutoring, Chocolate House and Bandolo. The first venture, Forward Tutoring, is an online nonprofit venture that provides two unique online services for underserved students: free one-on-one online tutoring and a student-oriented volunteer opportunity database. For every hour a student volunteers, he or she receives an equivalently valued amount of credits for online tutoring. They will partner with local organizations and talented students to provide relevant volunteer opportunities. This venture was created by high school students that spend their last two years at UNT in the Texas Academy of Math and Science program.
The second venture, Chocolate House, LLC, is bringing a first-time offering in the United States of the best tasting and highest quality cacao beans in the world, directly from Mayan farmers in the Central American rainforests of Belize. Their own Maya Mountain brand has more than 20,000 potential wholesalers and retailers to supply millions of consumers with this new prime super food. Their for-profit company also has an important social entrepreneurial aspect by matching funds with rainforest farmers to educate Mayan children.
The third venture, Bandolo, in Italian means solution to a problem, and this is what Bandolo does. Currently they are focusing on developing a support system for backpacks used to aid and benefit outdoor enthusiasts that desire to set themselves apart from the crowd.
With increasing talent, the Murphy Center amplifies dedication and resources towards new ventures, and would not be able to do so without the continued support of generous donors and alumni. The Murphy Center is privileged to award scholarship funds through the generous donations of :
BDO, USA, LLP
College Fund Landscaping Scholarship
Comerica Bank Scholarship
The Dobrient Family Service Scholarship
The Garvin Financial Group Scholarship for Investment Management
Pete & Elizabeth Gunter Scholarship
Jim McDonald/State Farm Scholarship
The Ken and Shirley Murphy Scholarship in Entrepreneurship
The Duffy and Tina Oyster Foundation Free Enterprise Scholarship
Reflect Systems Scholarship
Sysco North Texas Scholarship
With the aid of our donors the Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship continues to champion entrepreneurship in providing the needed resources and opportunities to our constituents to rise and compete. Look to us in the future as the Murphy Center rises to the occasion and establishes the Mindset of Entrepreneurship for the years to come.