Published on January 31, 2024 by Morgan Black  
McDermott, Carson, Brown, Lohrke, Mazzei and McCombs represented Samford as panelists during the USASBE 2024 conference.
In January, Samford University’s Brock School of Business collaborated with other higher education institutions across the state of Alabama to sponsor the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) 2024 conference. This year’s event was based on the theme “Forging the Future Together” and brought together a national community of like-minded professionals to discuss the evolving landscape of entrepreneurial education. 
Throughout the three-day event, Samford faculty and students attended sessions dedicated to topics such as the integration of artificial intelligence in entrepreneurial settings, international entrepreneurship case studies, the history of entrepreneurship education, and more.
Samford faculty presented a manuscript in the “Intentional and Effective Entrepreneurship Programs” track where they discussed the development and purpose behind the new entrepreneurship and corporate innovation concentration available for Samford business majors. Authors on this manuscript include Matt Mazzei, interim chair of the entrepreneurship, management and marketing department and Samford Startup coordinator; Kate McCombs, assistant professor of management; and Chad Carson, dean of Brock School of Business; Matt Mazzei, interim chair of the entrepreneurship, management and marketing department and Samford Startup coordinator; and Kate McCombs, assistant professor of management. These authors addressed the concentration’s curriculum design, which provides a coordinated progression of skill-building to enhance entrepreneurial thinking and innovative behavior, allowing students to generate numerous paths to pursue their career interests.
A second panel presented by Samford faculty and former faculty was titled “Reflections on Student Entrepreneurship: 10 Years of the Samford Startup Student Incubator”. In addition to Carson, Mazzei and McCombs, Franz Lohrke, former faculty member; and, Keith Brown, former entrepreneur in residence, joined the panel. Through their discussion, all four advisers who have overseen the student incubator program, Lohrke, Carson, Brown and now Mazzei, shared a 10-year retrospective look at the program including its evolution, successes along the way and lessons learned. Additionally, alumna of the Samford Startup program, Kaitlin McDermott ’23, joined to provide her perspective.
Mazzei said, “It was exciting to welcome entrepreneurship educators to Birmingham. We have such a vibrant and growing ecosystem, and it was fun to highlight our community. USASBE is focused on building and supporting entrepreneurship education, so it is a wonderful event to be associated with. It was also a valuable opportunity to work with other schools across the state. It’s always fun to join in conversation and collaboration with those on the cutting-edge of education, so it was a great week.”
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.