MU students create ‘4impact,’ an entrepreneur program aimed at social good

Program kicks off with a virtual event with Maxine Clark, the founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop.

six student headshots smiling

Top row: Sam Dudenhoeffer, Nick Farquhar, Bryson Ferguson
Bottom row: Clare Fischer, Aaron Heienickle, Benjamin Schieber

March 2, 2021

The ultimate goal for most publicly traded companies is to provide the maximum financial return to shareholders in the company. However, global warming, hunger insecurity, social justice issues and other worldwide causes are leading many corporations and their leadership to expand their priorities to include contributing toward the greater social good.

Social good is described as an undertaking benefitting the largest number of people in the largest possible way—be it through environmental, healthcare, education, or other acts that have a positive impact on society. Now, Mizzou students are incorporating this philanthropic mindset into their entrepreneurial efforts.

Sam Dudenhoeffer and Aaron Heienickle, as well as other Mizzou students in the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), are using their work and skills to provide a framework for the launch of a new entrepreneurial program focused on social good. The program, ‘4impact,’ will offer students an opportunity to virtually develop an idea for good into any type of venture.

“By providing access to mentorship and speaker-led workshops, we are hoping to ignite a program that will have an impact on those who need it most,” said Dudenhoeffer, a senior majoring in finance with a minor in entrepreneurship at MU. “The end goal, which involves a cash award of up to $5,000, is to give students an opportunity to present business ventures that will positively affect social good.”

Sponsored by the employees of Veterans United, 4impact is open to any full-time undergraduate or graduate student at Mizzou, UMKC, Missouri S&T and UMSL. Ideas may be at any stage of development, can be any service or product, and must contain a strong element of social good. Student applicants will be chosen to participate in the program, which is modeled after the already successful UM System and Mizzou “pitch” competitions Entrepreneur Quest and Idea Quest student accelerators. Once accepted, student entrepreneurs will participate in learning sessions and virtual events that will help them to strengthen their efforts.

“The goal of 4impact is to provide the coaching and mentoring needed to encourage social impact while building a legacy of giving at MU,” said Heienickle, a freshman majoring in marketing and minoring in computer science. “By bringing together the strong entrepreneurial resources at Mizzou, we are hoping to build programs that have an impact on the world.”

woman in a build-a-bear shop with a bear, holding a felt heart

Maxine Clark

To kick off the program, 4impact and the UM System are hosting a virtual event with Maxine Clark, the founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, a teddy-bear themed retail and entertainment store with more than 400 workshops worldwide. Since establishing her successful business, Clark has focused her entrepreneurial skills to fuel her passion of improving K-12 public education and her investments in women and minority entrepreneurs. Bryson Ferguson, an MU business management major and a Stamps Scholar, will lead the conversation.

“In this conversation, I’m hoping to get to know Ms. Clark, to explore her experiences with and what she’s learned about entrepreneurship, and to ask for any advice she’d give college students on how to start a successful business,” said Ferguson.  “I also want to explore how her passion led her to focusing more on balancing profitability with the impact her organizations are now having on social good. This will be a great way to jump start the 4impact program at Mizzou.”

More information about 4impact, as well as the application can be found here.

Event registration

Building a Company With Heart: A conversation with Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
RSVP online


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