‘Chief shoe giver’ inspires creativity, entrepreneurship

Blake Mycoskie will tell the story of TOMS Shoes on Mar. 11, and speak to students at the 2010 Innoventure competition. (submitted photo)

Blake Mycoskie will tell the story of TOMS Shoes on Mar. 11, and speak to students at the 2010 Innoventure competition. (submitted photo)

March 12, 2010 by By Alexia Severson NMSU Round Up

2010 NMSU Innoventure Competition

Students will get the chance to put their ideas into action, as well as gain inspiration from a man who has already created five businesses since graduating from college, at the 2010 Innoventure Competition tonight at the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces.

The competition, sponsored by the Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University, will feature a presentation given by Blake Mycoskie, the “chief shoe giver” of TOMS Shoes.

Mycoskie will present “The TOMS Shoes Story” to an audience of young, eager entrepreneurs. The presentation will be free and open to the public, according to a press release.

“I think it lets people see that even young people can be innovative and have good ideas,” said Samantha Apodaca, a freshman from Deming High School and competitor in the 2010 event.

Mycoskie is an entrepreneur who has become well-known through his shoe line. He came up with the idea for TOMS Shoes after visiting Argentina, where he saw a number of children living in poverty, who could not afford shoes, according to the official TOMS Shoes Web site, www.toms.com. Whenever someone buys a pair of TOMS shoes, another pair of shoes is sent to a child in need, according to the Web site.

Mycoskie’s shoe line has been featured in several fashion magazines, and sold in stores such as Urban Outfitters and Macy’s, according to www.mahalo.com/toms-shoes.

Since Mycoskie started TOMS shoes, more than 400,000 pairs of shoes have been distributed to children in developing countries, the Web site indicates.

Mycoskie has also competed in the CBS reality show, “The Amazing Race,” and was featured in an AT&T commercial according to a press release.

The 2010 Innovation Competition theme was inspired by Mycoskie’s social entrepreneurship efforts, and his will to give to people in need, said Marie Borchert, educational specialist for the Arrowhead Center.

“This will be the 8th Innoventure Competition,” Borchert said.

Borchert said the theme of the competition changes every year, but for the past three years, the competition has focused on entrepreneurship.

The competition consists of New Mexico high school and middle school students, Borchert said.

This year, students had the task of creating a kit that will have a long-term benefit and help their peers and younger students in “extreme circumstances,” whether it be a natural disaster, homelessness or helping children in a warzone, Borchert said.

“The students had to be innovative and creative to figure out what would be inside the kit,” Borchert said.

Although the judging of the competition will not be open to the public, “The TOMS Shoes story” presentation will be, Borchert said.

Mycoskie’s presentation will begin at 7 p.m. at the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces. All that will be required is a ticket, which can be printed online at http://tomsshoes.eventbrite.com.

Alexia Severson is a staff writer and can be reached at trunews@nmsu.edu.

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