College CEOs gather in Cowtown

Almost 1,000 undergraduate entrepreneurs attend national event in Fort Worth.

College CEOs gather in Cowtown

Almost 1,000 undergraduate entrepreneurs attend national event in Fort Worth.

Fort Worth recently welcomed more than 900 budding collegiate entrepreneurs, including 75 TCU students who heard tips from seasoned executives, honed their business skills and networked into the wee hours of the night.

It was all part of the 2011 National Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) Conference, which is traditionally held in its home base of Chicago but every five years travels to an alternative site. This year they chose Fort Worth, where TCU’s student chapter is the world’s largest at more than 400 members, making it the largest student organization on campus.

“It was really a life-changing experience,” says Zach Freeman, a junior entrepreneurial management and supply chain management major from San Diego. “It really motivated me to become an entrepreneur. I was able to talk to CEOs in casual conversations; you don’t get that kind of access often.”

The conference included the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Gene Landrum of Chuck E. Cheese, an Elevator Pitch Competition, and the Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Sarah Petty, a senior business major from Southlake, competed in the Elevator Pitch competition, in which she described her business plan of creating video real estate home tours for the web.

She said she was impressed by the conference’s attendees.

“Usually if you go up to someone and ask them what they’re doing, they’ll tell you their major, but at the conference you’d ask someone and they’d launch into this whole business idea. Everyone has some idea of what they wanted to do. It was inspiring.”

Luke Otteson, a sophomore business major from Benbrook, said he was impressed to find students even younger than himself who had already started companies.

“Everybody was there because they wanted to be, because they had ideas they wanted to further. We were looking at the future of America,” he said. “One night we ended up staying up until 3 a.m. just talking about ideas.”

All three students were among the Frogs who served as “bus leaders” by helping guide conference attendees as they traveled to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium where they enjoyed the TCU-BYU game.

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Business minded: TCU faculty build entrepreneurial skills through grants from the Coleman Foundation

On the Web:
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