The Nevada District office of the U.S. Small Business Administration announced it will recognize University of Nevada, Reno College of Business faculty member David Croasdell and alumna Randi Hecht (’10) during the May 4, 2016 awards luncheon in Las Vegas.
Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
Croasdell, the Charles and Ruth Hopping Professor of Entrepreneurship in the University’s College of Business, will receive the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.
“Croasdell embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship while employing his many talents to serve the needs of local businesses,” James Johnson, vice chairman of Entrepreneurship Nevada and the person who nominated Croasdell for the award, said. “In every instance, he has been an unflagging advocate of collaboration, a compelling and self-effacing leader who leads by example and an innovator who is constantly building bridges among the diverse communities of entrepreneurs, academics and seasoned business veterans.”
As director of the University’s Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition, Croasdell and his team engage with students to encourage and develop innovative ideas. He is the co-director for the Donald W. Reynolds Nevada Governors Cup Business and Tri-State Business plan competitions that pit students together in a battle over promising business ideas. Croasdell has mentored numerous students and teams since first becoming involved in entrepreneurship. He has also pursued three of his own startup ventures.
As the academic director for the Mandela Washington Fellows Initiative for Young African Leaders, Croasdell was instrumental in expanding the community’s entrepreneurship horizon to sub-Saharan Africa. His work with the program has brought significant recognition nationally and internationally for Reno and northern Nevada’s emergent small businesses.
Extending beyond the classroom, Croasdell is a founding member of Entrepreneurship Nevada – a local portal for developing business networks and identifying entrepreneurial resources. He also sits on the board of Entrepreneurs Assembly, working to support and mentor local startups and help develop business strategies. He is a founding mentor of the MIT-based Summit VMS – a local service that matches high-value mentors to local ventures in a team-mentoring approach to developing these organizations. Additionally, Croasdell is actively involved in a number of ongoing activities including One Million Cups, House of Genius, Startup Weekend and Lean Startup.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Randi Hecht, owner of the Reno-based company Intellitext, will be honored with the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Intellitext offers speech-to-text services, which stream wirelessly to a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone in real-time. The company also provides video captioning, live webinar captioning, and accessibility consulting services.
Based upon work with the University’s Disability Resource Center, Hecht knew her business idea was severely needed in the community for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
“Her student work at the University made Randi realize that gaps in accessibility services outside of the University existed, and the unfair treatment many deaf and hard-of-hearing people endured,” Rod Jorgenson, Hecht’s mentor and director of counseling and management consultant at the Nevada Small Business Development Center, said. “Randi has found tremendous fulfillment in assisting the deaf and hard of hearing gain access, many of whom are receiving accessibility services for the first time in their lives.”
Since opening Intellitext in January of 2011, Hecht has expanded services across the nation to provide onsite and remote TypeWell transcription services in classrooms, businesses, hospitals and anywhere speech-to-text services are needed.
“Work taking place at the University’s College of Business, both by students and faculty, is greatly contributing to the entrepreneurial landscape in our community,” Greg Mosier, College of Business dean, said. “I’m incredibly proud of both Dave and Randi for their many accomplishments and these awards are well deserved.”
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