Extreme Entrepreneurship TourExtreme Entrepreneurship Tour

Register Now: Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour

Register now for the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour

entrepreneurship speakerMen and women who dream of starting their own business can hear practical advice when California University of Pennsylvania hosts the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour from 1-5 p.m. Nov. 9 in Steele Hall.

The event will introduce students and community members to the opportunities of entrepreneurship and explore ways they can help change the economy, create jobs for themselves and pursue their passions.

The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour includes keynotes, exhibits, workshops and question-and-answer sessions led by some of the country’s most successful young entrepreneurs. In partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Campaign for Free Enterprise, the Tour intends to inspire students to look at entrepreneurship as a viable career path.

The Tour was created in 2006 to expose young people to entrepreneurship. In more than 200 events in 35 states, it has featured many of the country’s top young entrepreneurs — including some who have built or sold successful companies for more than $1 million before the age of 30.

“Our goal is to create a culture of entrepreneurship here on the Cal U campus,” says Kelly Hunt, executive director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Center and Student Incubator at Cal U. “We want students to realize that starting a business can be one way to build a successful career.”

Prospective new-business owners should be inspired, not intimidated, by the current economic climate, says Michael Simmons, co-founder of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour. “More than half the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list were launched during a recession or bear market. Technology and globalization have made it very inexpensive to start a business. Now is the best time to become your own boss.”

The program is free and open to the public. Doors open at 12:30 p.m., and participants may attend all or part of the event. Visitor parking is available in the Vulcan Garage, off Third Street near the campus entrance.

Registration is requested.

Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour FAQ

When is the best time for someone to start a business?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the best time to start a business is while students are in college because:

  • Often, they don’t have to worry about health care, children, mortgages, student loan debt, and other bills.
  • It's harder not to meet expectations and easier to exceed them. There's not that much competition from other students.
  • There are many resources that support youth entrepreneurship endeavors.
  • Many students have an existing passive secondary stream of income – their parents.
  • There's a synergy between a student’s school and his/her business. 
  • Their creativity, willingness to take risks and energy level may be at a high point.
  • Technology has made it possible for anyone to own a business that has a global reach. Ten years ago, to buy a fax machine, entrepreneurs had to pay a few hundred dollars for an extra phone line and to buy a fax machine. Now, entrepreneurs can use free services like efax.com (http://www.efax.com/) and have faxes sent to them via email.
  • Fifteen years ago, 800-numbers and cell phone plans were prohibitively expensive. Now, entrepreneurs can pay $10/month for a service like Grasshopper (http://www.grasshopper.com/) and have calls from their own 800-number forwarded to their cell phone while in class.
  • Ten years ago, entrepreneurs had to take the risk that their advertisements may not result in action. Now, entrepreneurs can use:
  • Twenty years ago, entrepreneurs selling products to consumers depended on store fronts or mail order. Now, entrepreneurs with little technical know-how can reach a global market by creating professional, e-commerce web sites with services like GoDaddy (http://www.godaddy.com/), Yola (http://www.yola.com/), and PayPal (http://www.paypal.com/) or posting their products on sites like eBay and Amazon.com.
  • Finally, with unemployment at a 25-year high and fewer older workers retiring from the labor force, students may find that it’s much easier to start a successful business than it is to find a job. Furthermore, more than half the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list having launched during a recession or bear market, is signal that recessions are good times to start businesses. Students who grew up with technology are uniquely positioned to identify problems that can be solved with new technologies.

Students are generally very busy people. How can they navigate running a business while they are working to get a degree?

Actually, the two can work very well hand-in-hand. Students who are in the process of launching or running a  business will acquire a lot more real-world experience that they can immediately apply to what they’re learning in school – not just in their business classes, but in their psychology and communications classes, as well as in the field in which they’ve started their business. It can help them ask better questions about their field and take away much more knowledge. There’s also an opportunity to build relationships with professors who can give them ideas and support about how to apply what they’re learning to their venture.

Why does this trend around entrepreneurship exist on college campuses?

  • Great foundations such as the Coleman Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation support it.
  • Organizations like the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO), the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), and the United States Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship (USASBE).
  • It has never been easier to start a business as a result of improvements in technology.
  • Most entrepreneurs aren’t in the business school. Many schools are realizing this and promoting entrepreneurship cross-campus.

The speakers at your events are incredible. How is it possible for all of them to be so successful?

Dream + Action! These people have all found something that they’re so passionate about that they’re willing to work harder, longer, and smarter for in order to achieve their goals.  What separates them is that they have consistently taken action and kept going, despite mistakes, challenges, and setbacks.

Many of our speakers have sold their companies for over $1 million, written books, and been featured in national media. One of them is the youngest minority owner of a publicly-held company ever. Most students hear this and think that this could only happen because of being extremely smart and/or being born into a rich, entrepreneurial family. This was not the case for the large majority of speakers. Many of our most successful speaker have nearly a decade of entrepreneurship experience even though they’re only in their mid-twenties. It took them ten years to become the ‘overnight’ success that they’re perceived to be.

That’s all great, but many students I see seem to only care about partying and doing well in school. Why do you think students should care about entrepreneurship?

  • Most students of our generation are interested in doing well in school in order to get a good job so they can make money. They’re interested in partying to have a good time in their life. Entrepreneurship allows them to marry these two things –passion and prosperity, because it is a way to have a job that makes them money doing something they love – and they can also make a difference in their communities at the same time.
  • Even if they are not interested in entrepreneurship as their life path, it is a unique experience that will help them stand out to future employers.
  • There’s nothing to lose being a student entrepreneur, and a lot to gain – especially the leadership and out-of-the box thinking skills that employers value.
  • Two-thirds of all millionaires are entrepreneurs.
  • In addition to the many skills that you develop from working on different parts of your business, there is maturity and personal growth that comes from launching a business because you have to take responsibility for your actions. It is not as easy to blame others when something goes wrong.  You have to come to terms with the fact that you don’t know everything and don’t always have the best judgment.

What’s it like being married and running a company?

For us, it’s a dream come true. With all the challenges that running a company brings, it’s just a blessing to be able to work through these things together. When you work with someone you trust very deeply, it makes everything run more smoothly. Now this isn’t to say that it’s all good – it’s also very hard to draw the line between business and personal time. We’ve learned that when we go out to dinner, we have to make it clear beforehand whether it’s going to be a business dinner or a date so that our expectations are met and we don’t walk away disappointed.

Why did you decide to bring a third partner into your business?

Three reasons. First, Arel has spoken at almost all of our past road tour events. We trust him and really enjoy working with him. We truly believe that Arel is one of the top speakers of our generation. Speaking is his passion, and he wants to be one of the best in the world at it. Arel’s story is a real living example of how anyone can accomplish their goals if they dream big and keep on taking action. Arel grew up on welfare in the projects of Brooklyn, NY. One of his best friends growing up is now serving a life sentence. Despite the challenges, he has faced, he has managed to become a successful entrepreneur.

What’s the best thing about running the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour?

There are really so many things.

  • We work from our home office with an in-person and virtual team of people that we love and who inspire us.
  • Our company is making a large impact in the way that we are most uniquely suited to do.
  • It is making it possible for us to generate wealth.
  • We have the flexibility to work when we want.
  • Growing a successful business is one of the most challenging things someone can do. Overcoming these challenges is extremely satisfying. Being the person we need to be in order to overcome challenges is a reward unto itself.

Our tour attendees have generally only had entry-level jobs if any job at all. Professionally, they haven’t had much freedom. Sharing our story with tour attendees shows them how they can get lots of freedom now and be their own business if they’re willing to take action and get started.