OXFORD, Mississippi – Alexis Maybank, founder of Gilt Groupe, shared her struggles and successes with University of Mississippi students as the keynote speaker during the fifth annual REDe Entrepreneurship Summit held November 10 at The Gertrude C. Ford Ole Miss Student Union.
“A career is a very long marathon,” Maybank said. “Don’t judge yourself by your mistakes, but keep an eye on the long arc of your career.”
Maybank’s speech not only included her personal story, but also outlined the steps necessary to create a strong business plan. She spoke about the importance of trial and error and that saying “no” isn’t always a bad thing.
Two graduates of Ole Miss’s business school were highlighted at the summit where they shared lessons learned from their initial failures at starting businesses. Brea Givens and Tanner McCraney returned to the drawing board after initially poor performances in the Gillespie Business Plan Competition.
“It’s always going to be an uphill battle, but it’s definitely worth it,” said Givens, founder and CEO of Froomie. “As you begin your entrepreneurial journey, be prepared to embrace change with open arms.”
Givens and McCraney, co-founders of Rumie, both won the competition after receiving support from the UM Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
These kinds of life lessons are the goal of the REDe Entrepreneurship Summit, which has been held since 2018. The focus is to encourage, celebrate and strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit among Ole Miss students.
“We believe that hearing these speakers’ entrepreneurial journeys will encourage our students to pursue ideas on their minds, learn from failures and prepare for challenges in their future careers,” said Tong Meng, CIE program director.
The CIE was founded in autumn 2014 by the School of Business Administration. Since 2018, the center has awarded $39,000 in scholarships and awarded over $188,000 in cash prizes to students. More than 60 student businesses have been set up with support from the centre.
“Participating in the REDe Entrepreneurship Summit was very enlightening and inspiring for me as I got to see Ole Miss alumni taking their ideas and bringing them to life,” said Danielle Delavaldene, a Dallas junior with a major in marketing.
“I also found Alexis Maybank’s speech inspiring as she spoke about the importance of executing a strong business plan and how this has helped her company be very successful.”