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Start ’em Up

Start ’em Up

Rick Wegman ’93, cofounder of HGC Development, offers advice on becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Start ’em Up

t’s great to get a job, but starting a company and creating jobs is even better.

That was the message of an Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour that hit campus in April.

Launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the tour was part of the chamber’s “Dream Big” campaign that has the goal of creating 20 million jobs this year through new business start-ups.

“They heard about what we’re doing here at TCU and wanted to connect with our students,” said Brad Hancock, director of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center. “We’re the only college campus they’re visiting in Texas.”

Successful entrepreneurs, including Rick Wegman ’93, spoke to students about how they started their firms and also took questions from the audience on topics that ranged from handling rejection to battling generational stereotypes.

Wegman, who became a clinical psychologist after graduating from TCU, told students about his winding career path, which included a stint as an actor in Hollywood, a period he dubbed “lucrative, but unimpressive.”

He returned to Fort Worth and started HGC Development, a real estate firm, and CWI Design Group. He also co-owns April Lane Exquisite Footwear, a women’s shoe firm on Camp Bowie Boulevard, with his wife.

He told students to make the most of their time at TCU and to network with fellow Frogs.

“TCU is such a great vehicle for instilling a sense who you are and what you can accomplish,” Wegman said. “Everybody — the faculty, staff, everyone — works so hard to make you believe in yourself.”

The event drew about 30 students and alumni, including some who have already started their own business. Justin Anderson ’09, founder and chief executive officer of Anderson Trail, a maker of moist-style granola, said he enjoyed hearing first-hand from successful entrepreneurs.

Anderson also participated in another segment of the chamber’s “Dream Big” initiative — a video contest designed to celebrate aspiring and established entrepreneurs.

He was recently among the semifinalists in the “I Am Free Enterprise” video contest. His video (screen shot below) placed  16th out of 133 entries.

“I’ve gotten over 7,500 views of the video since it was uploaded to YouTube,” he said. “It has served as a great way to educate people on what I’ve done to start what’s now a thriving natural foods company with just $500 and a dream,” he says.