Meritrust announces three-year support of Wichita State University business development programs

WICHITA, KS (September 17, 2013) — Meritrust Credit Union is pleased to announce its support of Wichita State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship outreach programs.

Meritrust has pledged $225,000 over three years to support the entrepreneurship programs. The credit union wants to strengthen its relationship with Wichita State to serve students and businesses in the region, said James Nastars, Meritrust President and CEO.

“We want to align with the university in areas that reflect our core values and our business mission, which includes helping our business members succeed,” Nastars said. “The speaker series offered through the Center for Entrepreneurship provides training and assistance we think will benefit entrepreneurs, businesses and students alike.”

The Center for Entrepreneurship at Wichita State University fosters and promotes entrepreneurial thinking through a wide range of academic and community programs. It’s located in the largest city in Kansas – Wichita – the birthplace of many nationally known corporations, Pizza Hut and Koch Industries included.

Meritrust has been a sponsor of Barton Business Week at the university, which brings together Kansas business representatives and students in the W. Frank Barton School of Business for a week of meetings and events each spring. It also supports WSU athletics and student services and is a Lifetime Distinction Member in the WSU Foundation Fairmount Society.

“This partnership is a natural fit for Meritrust with our longstanding commitment to the Wichita State and business communities,” said Jamie Taulbee, Meritrust Vice President of Marketing. “We are honored to be a part of the Center for Entrepreneurship programs that help cultivate the area’s leaders of today and tomorrow.”

Lou Heldman, Interim Director of the WSU Center for Entrepreneurship, said the credit union’s gift would fund:

•    Meritrust Business Booster Series. Up to 15 weekly workshops that begin Oct. 18 with featured topics such as capitalizing on creative business ideas, analyzing consumer purchase decisions, franchising tips, branding strategies and website expertise.

•    Meritrust Entrepreneurship Forum Series. Panels of successful business leaders or individual speakers addressing entrepreneurship topics. The series will begin in spring 2014 and run through fall 2016. Among national speakers who have participated in previous years are David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby; Jimmy John Liautaud, founder and CEO of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shops; and Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop.

•    WSU Center for Entrepreneurship efforts. The support will also help the Center fulfill its mission to advance business creation and economic growth in the region through education, research and community involvement.

“This wonderful gift increases the Center’s ability to provide training and interaction with successful business people to the students, entrepreneurs and companies driving Kansas economic growth,” said Lou Heldman, Interim Director of the WSU Center for Entrepreneurship.

Interim Dean of the W. Frank Barton School of Business Cindy Claycomb said, “This partnership provides opportunities for our students and the Wichita community to engage with entrepreneurs and other business professionals on an ongoing basis,” Claycomb said. “This is a meaningful commitment by Meritrust to our students and to area businesses, and a relationship we hope will continue for many years.”

About Meritrust
Meritrust Credit Union is the leading and largest Kansas-chartered community credit union with 78,500 members and $894 million in assets. Meritrust is open to the public with 14 branches in metro-Wichita, Junction City and Lawrence, Kansas. In 2012, Meritrust was ranked third in the nation in the Callahan & Associates Return of the Member Index and was recognized by SNL Financial as one of the top 20 best performing credit unions in the nation, among credit unions with total assets of more than $500 million. For more information, visit

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