Alamo founder headlines SU business event

By Ryan Cornell

The third annual Entrepreneurship Week, hosted from Monday to Wednesday by Shenandoah University’s Harry F. Byrd School of Business will focus on the process of starting your own business venture and will present Alamo Drafthouse Cinema founder Tim League with its Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Miles Davis, dean of the business school, said League is the fifth entrepreneur to receive this award. Davis said previous winners have been Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal, Auntie Anne’s founder Anne Beiler and former NFL placekicker and Five Guys Director of Franchising Mark Moseley.

“They had to have a significant impact on their area of entrepreneurship,” Davis said. “They have to have an innovative idea and show a demonstrated passion for what it is they’re doing.”

He said League exemplifies this passion and belief in what he does, noting that the cinephile has banned Madonna from the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for texting during a movie.

“I think in the course of any year, we all notice something that can be done differently, just like Tim League,” he said. “Movie theaters have been around forever, but adding food to the theater and tiered seating so everybody can see the screen had never been done before.

“Most people do the first part, they recognize the opportunity,” he said. “But do they have the perseverance to carry out with it?”

League will host a question-and-answer session at 6 p.m. Monday, following a reception at Halpin-Harrison Hall’s Stimpson Auditorium at 5:30 p.m.

Davis said he “hit it off” with League at the Apple Blossom Festival in May when the cinema founder presented at the program and the two participated in an onstage interview.

“When I told him about the [Entrepreneur of the Year] award, I thought he might be busy, but he was excited to be recognized,” Davis said. “He’s a real down-to earth guy.”

Two new additions to the program this year are an increased focus on young entrepreneurship and Winchester downtown development.

Davis said two local entrepreneurs who have launched businesses while still in high school will set up booths and discuss the ideas they’ve developed.

A discussion at 6 p.m. Tuesday will feature Winchester Downtown Manager Jennifer Bell and Bright Box Theater founder Marilyn Finnemore, who will address the city’s goals and present a video detailing the revitalization of its downtown walking mall.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the fair will host a student expo for current Shenandoah University students and local entrepreneurs, who are invited to set up booths to show their goods and services.

Jeffrey Hester, CEO of Family Alliance and a 1985 Shenandoah University graduate, and Mike Guevremont, president of the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber, will speak at 6 p.m. Wednesday about how an entrepreneur’s thought process differs from other working professionals.

The entrepreneurship week is held in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, which bills itself as the largest celebration of innovators and job creators in the world.

All of the events are held on the Shenandoah University campus in Halpin-Harrison Hall’s Stimpson Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

For more information about the events or to register for a booth at the student expo, contact the dean’s office at 540-665-4572.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com