I spoke before 1200+ college students at the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization Conference yesterday morning. It was incredible to meet and get to know a significant number of college students who were already building significant vibrant ventures. I think I met at least six student entrepreneurs, under the age of twenty-one, with ventures closing in on one million in revenue. I also met a young man who at twenty-one is on his fourth creative venture.
For me, the most exciting news from the conference was, that besides my keynote presentation, there was two other break-out sessions focused on arts entrepreneurship. Certainly, a long way from being a dominant force at this conference, but clearly the recognition of the importance of arts entrepreneurship has begun.
If you are not familiar with this organization, besides being an incredible source of inspiration, it is a wonderful place to network. Many of the students who attend are not yet entrepreneurs but are either interested in becoming one or simply interested in the topic.
One of the highlights of the conference is the elevator pitch competition. It is designed to force potential start-up’s to be able to explain in 90 seconds their venture, its financial needs and return on investment to potential investors. The competition eventually results in five place winners who receive cash prices from $2500 to $500.00. The conference each year is in Chicago. Check the CEO site and mark your calendars for next year and plan on attending.