March 27 – 31, 2023

The Center for Entrepreneurship will host seven free workshops for entrepreneurs. This is free and open to the community. Seating is limited, and registration is required. Missouri Western State University is still closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization and supports nationwide efforts to help keep our communities safe. 

All businesses are very important to our community and region. As always, the Center for Entrepreneurship is here to help you in any way we can.  Please let us know if we can be of assistance.  

2021 Capstone Luncheon Recap

Entrepreneurship Week Awards

2022 E-Week Award Winners

Martial Thevenot, Entrepreneur of the Year

With his family, Martial Thevenot leads a group of socially conscious businesses, otherwise referred to as TEAM PERKA. Their “WHY”, is to seek out stress-free building solutions so as to help make our community healthier, safer, and more prosperous”. 

Born in Canada, Martial earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in business from Brock University in Ontario. He received his degree in common law from the University of Ottawa.

A big fan of hockey, he played at college and junior levels, instructed at hockey schools and coached youth hockey for over 10 years.

Martial is a father of three, grandfather of three, soon-to-be-four, granddaughters, and has been married for 41 years. He is past president of the South Side St. Joseph Rotary Club & current president of the Performing Arts Association Board. He volunteers when he can and is a past board member with St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce and Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art.

Stephanie Tripp, Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year

A native of Maysville, Stephanie earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri Western State University in 2012 and her master’s degree from UMKC. When she started her family, she decided she wanted more flexibility and began assisting her husband with his business. She returned to Missouri Western to obtain a degree in Business Management and that is how she found her passion for business and entrepreneurship. 

Shortly after completing the Craig School of Business Applied Entrepreneurship Program at Missouri Western, Stephanie became a franchisee of Focus Brands’ Auntie Anne concept. Stephanie built out her first store in Saint Joseph in November 2016. After operating this location for 1.5 years, she purchased the Auntie Anne’s at the Legends of Kansas City, Kansas and the Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon in Branson, Missouri. These transactions took place in May 2019 (only nine days apart!). As Stephanie continued to expand her businesses, a new brand was added to her portfolio in 2021 with the purchase of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, also in Branson. 

With opportunities on the horizon, Stephanie’s entrepreneurial empire is continuing to grow with the purchase of  two Auntie Anne’s and she will add two more locations next year inside the terminal of the long-awaited new KCI Airport.

The driving force behind all Stephanie does and strives for is her family – her husband Nick and children, Averie and Henry. Stephanie also enjoys traveling with family and friends any chance she gets. 

2022 Award Nominations

Entrepreneur of the Year

Do you know of a successful entrepreneur? One that you admire and hold in esteem? Have they shown experience in starting, growing, and/or expanding a successful business? Have they been in business for five years or more? Do they give back to the community? If so, we would love for you to nominate them for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Nominate an Entrepreneur

Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year

This is for those entrepreneurs that have been in business five years or less. This is to highlight those entrepreneurs that are showing innovation and has the potential for impact on our community.

Nominate an Entrepreneur

Past Award Winners

Entrepreneur of the Year

2022 – Martial Thevenot

2021 – Kendall Randolph

2020 – Joe Freudenthal

2019 – Mike Dragoo

2018 – Scott Gann

2017 – Bob Wollenman

Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year

2022 – Stephanie Tripp

2021 – Chris Lanman

2020 – Austin Evans

2019 – Alyson Fisher

2018 – Scott Bratton

2017 – Jason Chase