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Austin Falley
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Business professor organizes conference on angel investing, venture capital

Tue, 03/26/2013

LAWRENCE – Leading researchers and practitioners will converge next month to discuss current developments in early-stage investing at a conference led by a University of Kansas School of Business professor.

George BittlingmayerSpeakers at the conference are leading researchers in venture finance, as well as key figures in Kansas City’s entrepreneurship system. The conference, Early-Stage Investing, will be April 5 at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City.

“We have made a special effort to bridge silos, both between academics and practitioners, and among academics themselves. We have both finance and management areas represented,” said George Bittlingmayer, KU finance professor and conference organizer.

Early-Stage Investing is sponsored by the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation, which promotes education and research in entrepreneurship.

“The conference reflects my passion for bringing academics and practitioners together,” Bittlingmayer said. “The University of Kansas can play a key role in the development of Kansas and the Kansas City area as a center for entrepreneurial activity.”

Bittlingmayer notes Kansas City’s growing national reputation as the center of the “Silicon Prairie,” an area of the Midwest, including Kansas, known for its developments in entrepreneurship and technology.

“Entrepreneurship in this area has received extra impetus from the rollout of Google Fiber and KU’s increasing role as a regional source of innovation and engaged scholarship,” Bittlingmayer said. “Every entrepreneurial ecosystem in the U.S. has a major research university associated with it, and the University of Kansas is playing a major role in the one developing here.”

The event includes panelists from leading entrepreneurship and venture capital groups around Kansas City, including ThinkBig Partners, Mid-America Angels, the Enterprise Center of Johnson County and Grassmere Partners.

Researchers from Arizona State University, Duke University, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Harvard University and Willamette University will present their work. Participants include faculty and graduate students from the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri, at both Kansas City and Columbia campuses, and other institutions, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and the Enterprise Center of Johnson County.

“The focus of this conference – the financing of entrepreneurship – highlights one important aspect of what KU faculty, alumni and our friends in the business community can do to support innovation that can change the world,” Bittlingmayer said.

For more information on Early-Stage Investing, contact George Bittlingmayer via email or at 785-864-7541.



Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@NYTimes columnist @WCRhoden will speak at a symposium about race and sports April 23. http://t.co/UiKA9MYNv0 http://t.co/PHwCOHqcfD
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


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