Punk rocker, social justice researcher to speak at Global Entrepreneurship Week

November 11, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Martin Atkins, a Grammy award-winning punk rocker, business owner and entrepreneurship educator, will speak during Penn State Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18.

The weeklong celebration of entrepreneurship aims to connect student entrepreneurs with changemakers, thought-leaders, innovators, and collaborators and will be fully virtual for the first time in its 12 years at Penn State.

“Atkins is the type of speaker who pushes his listeners outside of their comfort zones and inspires them to think and act differently,” says Jeanette Miller, director of the Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIENT) major in the Smeal College of Business.

Atkins has spoken publicly on a variety of topics related to the music industry and entrepreneurship but has shifted recent speaking engagements to focus on the entrepreneurial response to the pandemic.

"My last 7 months have been all about pushing the envelope and inspiring people who may feel frozen in fear and anxiety right now to show them that innovation is still possible and it's our jobs as creators to inspire, energize, and make change," he said.  

Atkin’s talk, "Arts and Entrepreneurship in a Time of Crisis," will be held virtually. The event is free of charge and open to students, faculty, staff and the public.

Jerome Williams, distinguished professor and fellow of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers University, is another GEW speaker sponsored by the Smeal College of Business. Williams is widely recognized for his expertise in multicultural marketing and social justice in the marketplace.

Williams, who was a member of the faculty in Penn State’s Marketing department between 1987-2001, welcomed the opportunity to return to campus in a virtual capacity.

“I’ve come a long way since my Penn State days,” said Williams. “However, I’ll always remember Penn State and State College as where it all started and where I established the foundation for what I’ve accomplished in my academic career.”

During his GEW presentation, "Financial Ecosystem and Black Businesses and Entrepreneurs," Williams will present the challenges faced by minority entrepreneurs seeking funding from financial institutions and provide recommendations for identifying discriminatory practices. The event will be held at noon on Monday, Nov. 16, and is open to the public.

“Dr. Williams’ fascinating and heartbreaking research on lending practices demonstrates that Black borrowers, particularly Black female entrepreneurs, are at a disadvantage before they even submit a loan application,” said Meg Meloy, chair of the Marketing Department in Smeal, who secured William’s participation. “This is a situation that must be rectified.”

Penn State GEW 2020 will showcase a diverse array of speakers and resources to support student and community entrepreneurs as they pursue their ventures. 

“The entrepreneurial path can be challenging and uncertain,” said Miller. “The Smeal College of Business and CIENT major are pleased to bring these speakers to campus, and we encourage anyone considering entrepreneurship to seek out speakers, connections and the tremendous resources within the Penn State entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

For a full schedule of events, visit the Penn State GEW website at gew.psu.edu.

Last Updated April 15, 2021