From community involvement to fostering an environment that encourages the next generation of entrepreneurs to lead differently, the focus on principled leadership is evident in classrooms at Fisher and throughout student organizations across campus.

Once such example is Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship (APTE). For the ninth year, the student-led organization held the APTE Summit, an annual event that draws social entrepreneurs, students and community members to explore sustainable solutions to poverty. The 2017 Summit welcomed more than 1,000 attendees to Mershon Auditorium for a daylong event that featured notable speakers from the around the globe who shared their insights on solving some of the world’s most difficult challenges through entrepreneurship.

Speakers from this year’s summit included:

  • Mohammed Ashour, co-founder and CEO of Aspire Food Group, a company that uses insects for applications in nutrition, biomedicine and agrochemicals with a vision to alleviate global food insecurity. Learn more.
  • Catherine Mahugu, co-founder of Soko, a technology company that connects consumers to ethically produced fashion products from the developing world. Learn more.
  • Dr. Anil K. Gupta, professor at the Centre for Management in Agriculture at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and founder of Honey Bee Network, a crucible of like-minded individuals, innovators, farmers, scholars, academicians, policy makers, entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations. Learn more.
  • Maria Yuan, founder and CEO of IssueVoter, a non-partisan organization that helps the voting public make informed decisions about issues that are important to them. IssueVoter helps constituents voice their opinions to Congress on pending legislation and then track whether they’re truly being represented. Learn more.
  • Sharad Sagar, founder of Dexterity Global, an innovative social enterprise dedicated to empowering the next generation of leaders through educational opportunities. Learn more.
  • Kelley Griesmer, director of special projects at The Columbus Foundation, collaborates with the foundation’s departments to enhance the success of the organization’s philanthropic endeavors and create opportunities for growth and social impact. Learn more.

Erin Halleran, a third-year finance major who served as APTE executive director during the 2016-2017 academic year, said she appreciated the speakers’ ability to engage with attendees and inspire them to take actions to make the world a better place as the speakers themselves have done through their respective endeavors.

"The experience absolutely exceeded the APTE leadership team’s expectations," Halleran said. "We have worked for almost a year to develop the 2017 event."

Halleran has been involved with APTE for three years, since joining the leadership team as a first-year student. As director of the 13-member leadership team, she appreciates the high level of collaboration among the team’s members leading up to the summit.

"I could not possibly express how amazing my team has been in pulling this off," Halleran said. "They made my job easy and they deserve to be celebrated."

The summit began at Fisher in 2009 and drew 200 people its first year. Since then, the event has attracted thousands of participants, featured speakers from around the world and awarded thousands of dollars through a student business competition. The competition is hosted by the Business Builders Club.

"Everything with the summit was seamless, thanks to the contributions of sponsors and partners," Halleran said. "It gave us even more ideas of how to make the event the highest caliber it can be."