UM Business Professor to Chair International Conference

Richard Gentry selected to lead 2019 entrepreneurship symposium

Richard Gentry

OXFORD, Miss. – The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship has selected a University of Mississippi professor to chair its international conference for 2019.

The USASBE officers and board members selected Richard Gentry, associate professor of management and holder of the Mac Elliott Chair of Entrepreneurship, to chair the annual conference set for January 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Previously, the conference has attracted some 500 participants from all 50 states and around the world.

“I’m thrilled to participate and support such a huge conference focused on entrepreneurship,” said Gentry, who also is director of the Ole Miss Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Building the program here in Mississippi has been a tremendous experience, and it has benefited, in no small part, from our commitment to USASBE.

“Being given the opportunity to help lead and shape that effort for the 2019 conference means that we can give back and help other programs build entrepreneurship into their curriculum.”

Mark Schenkel, USASBE president and entrepreneurship professor at Belmont University, is among the team with whom Gentry will work in the months leading up to the conference. Schenkel hopes to bring together the best teachers, scholars, practitioners and center directors to engage and share best practices to further entrepreneurship in academia.

“I’m super-excited to work with Rich in developing an outstanding USASBE conference program and experience in St. Petersburg,” Schenkel said. “His leadership and expertise are clear and strongly reflected in his both his scholarly work and through is work at CIE.”

At Ole Miss, Gentry has helped create a culture of success in academics and entrepreneurship for nearly 10 years, as demonstrated in his publications and his role in creating the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“Entrepreneurship is something that universities must pursue across their entire campuses: in the classroom, in center offices and beyond,” Gentry said. “USASBE embraces that reality by functioning as a big tent society where everyone is welcome.

“The conference is a big undertaking and having the support of the CIE and the School of Business will certainly help to make it more manageable.”

Gentry’s colleagues at the UM business school support him in this new role. Clay Dibrell, who works with Gentry as executive director of the innovation center, said he thinks Gentry will serve as an excellent ambassador for the university.

“We are excited Rich is chairing the 2019 USASBE Conference,” Dibrell said. “Rich is an excellent ambassador for the university’s entrepreneurship programs, and we look forward to him learning about innovative initiatives from other entrepreneurship scholars as we grow our student and university ecosystems.”

According to its website, the USASBE was founded in 1981 and is “an inclusive community advancing entrepreneurship educations through bold teaching, scholarship and practice.”

For more information on the 2019 conference or the USASBE, visit