Ann Blackford


College: Communication & Information

iNET Living Learning Community Students Learn to Think Like Entrepreneurs to Succeed

Published: Nov 20, 2013


Video By UK Public Relations & Marketing.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2013) — Students in the iNET Living Learning Community discover that thinking like an entrepreneur will not only help them in the future, but also helps them day to day to be better students and get the most out of their University of Kentucky academic experience.


“My dad is in business, my grandpa is in business, all my uncles are in business, and they’ve always told me the best way to build a business is to be good at communicating,” said iNET LLC student Mac Shea from Bowling Green, Ky. “So being a part of this was right up my alley because we are learning how to pitch and communicate and present our ideas in a way that would appeal to business people and investors.”


Shea, who began the year as the only undecided student in the iNET LLC, now plans to major in kinesiology and exercise science and become a physical therapist.


Twenty freshmen from 16 majors and six colleges including one international student, and an upperclassman peer mentor are in the iNET LLC, which is currently located in Patterson Hall and moving to Champions Court I next year. It is also the newest of the UK Office of Residence Life’s Living-Learning Programs for Fall 2013.


The Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking, better known as iNET, is UK’s new academic program for students from any major to have opportunities to learn skills to apply entrepreneurial thinking, build professional networks, and gain real world experience.


“We are now living in an entrepreneurial world and it is our responsibility to help our students develop skills to be successful at UK and become our future leaders and innovators,” said Dan O’Hair, iNET co-founder, Advisory Board chairman and dean of UK’s College of Communication and Information, which hosts the iNET programs including the iNET Living Learning Community.


“Being in the iNET LLC is a great opportunity to get noticed if you work hard on an idea,” said Bryan Wright, an architecture major from Dover, Del. Wright, who wants to develop a reinforcement structural system to prevent significant damage to homes during severe winds, will pitch his idea this Friday at Commerce Lexington during the “Stand Up for Your Start-Up” pitch competition, part of Lexington’s Global Entrepreneurship Week events. Bryan has worked with iNET entrepreneur-in-residence, Brian Rainey, who also provides programs for the LLC students.


Derek Lane, iNET academic director and College of Communication and Information senior associate dean for student success and administrative affairs, said, “The iNET LLC is designed to provide a coherent integrated approach to helping ambitious first-year students who are part of the community to develop and document the skills needed to become a successful innovator and entrepreneur.”


“As part of the community, students learn how to use the Business Model Canvas and the customer discovery process. Learning to develop ideas and potential customers, innovate those ideas, and pivot when necessary, are all important components of becoming an effective entrepreneurial thinker,” Lane said.  


Megan Douglass, a double major in equine science and biology from New Waterford, Ohio, says she really likes learning about entrepreneurial resources in case she wants to start her own business, and especially being a part of a community. “It is like I’ve had a built-in family at UK from day one when we got to move in early before everyone else,” Douglass said.


“It’s just really great to see everybody working together and everybody building stuff as a group, and everybody is helping each other,” Shea said. “And by far the most helpful part is all of the connections that I’ve made.”


According to Shea, “Joining the iNET LLC is one of the best decisions I’ve made coming to UK, and I would say to the incoming freshman it's something that is worth every minute of your time.”


Celebrating its 25th year on campus in fall 2014, the Living Learning Program at UK provides students with an environment to learn where they live and to live where they learn. The Division of Student Affairs Office of Residence Life, creators of the program, collaborated with academic and other student success partners to complement the classroom experience. Through Living Learning Communities and Residential Colleges, UK offers students an opportunity to live and learn together in an integrated academic residential environment. This dynamic residential experience offers specialized programming, interactions with UK faculty and staff, and a supportive community that focuses on student success.


The program has grown exponentially in recent years with 965 students participating in 13 programs this fall. Six more programs will be added in fall 2014, nine times more than in 2008. For more information, visit, the LLP Facebook page, or contact Trisha Clement Montgomery, Assistant Director for Academic Initiatives, at  




MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or

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