Archive for February, 2009

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, Louisiana –

The 2009 Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour has officially kicked off! This is just the beginning to an exciting year of events, inspiration and lots of fun. This semester, Dustin Wickersham and Ana Molina have joined the road team. Dust hails from Huntsville, OH and Ana from El Paso, TX.

Our first event started at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge. LSU is the flagship institution in Louisiana and the largest, with over 30,000 students.

The University is the home to the Fighting Tigers and a real live mascot Bengal Tiger, Mike, living on campus, who we had the opportunity to visit. Mike the Tiger

The tour was invited by the LSU Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute (SEI), and SEI Project Manager, Jarrett Rodriguez. The goal of the tour stop was to raise awareness about entrepreneurship opportunities across campus and fight brain drain in the region. Over 160 students registered and participated throughout the entire day.

Chancellor Martin welcomed students and opened up the event, followed by John Mathews, Director off the Small Business Services for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, who stressed the many different resources available to students in the state of Louisiana. Both were followed by the tour’s Arel Moodie (www.arelmoodie.com) who kicked off the event with excitement and inspiration. Arel got the crowd up on their feet laughing and ready for our keynote speakers.

Michael Simmons, Co-Founder of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour, delivered the first keynote about his experience starting his own business, Princeton WebSolutions, when he was 16 years old. Michael explained the challenges and excitement of getting his first client to navigating his way of managing a growing business. Through the use of personal experiences, movies and an interactive PowerPoint presentation, Michael revealed how students can start a business at any age.

Our workshop sessions was lead by Arel, who once again got the crowd moving and excited with a workshop that help students brainstorm business ideas. In attendance for the networking breaks were exhibits from all round LSU’s campus and the State of Louisiana. These included the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, Louisiana Department Business & Technology Center, along with two business incubators. Another great asset to Louisiana and LSU is the food! For lunch, the audience received Jambalaya, a dish of Spanish and French influence made of meats and vegetables completed by stock and rice. FANTASTIC!

Our second keynote speaker, Josh Kowitt, used his personal story about starting his own business after two short months his freshmen year of college. His business started as a student refrigerator rental business and later he moved into shipping and storage through a new company, Collegeboxes. Josh’s business grew to 60 campuses nationwide. Josh’s entrepreneurship experience inspired students to understand the importance of starting a business now and chasing your passion as soon as you can.

Our LSU event closed with a panel discussion composed of 5 experts including our two keynote speakers and local entrepreneurs: Jack Warner (a local restaurant owner), Wendy Williamson (founder of gotbreastpump.com) and Abigail Lefebvre Business Development Officer from the LA Department of Economic Development). The discussion was moderated by Arel and much of the discussion was stimulated by the audience’s questions.