The Entrepreneurial Life Cycle

Article by:
Staff
EO Global
Zak Dabbas & Ryan Unger, EO Chicago

The term “entrepreneurial life cycle” has taken on a new meaning thanks to the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) and Accelerator, EO programs designed to nurture and guide entrepreneurs into the EO family. Two entre­preneurs who recently took this path are Zak Dabbas (pictured right) and Ryan Unger (pictured left), EO Chicago members and founders of mobile marketing firm Punchkick Interactive. In this interview, Zak talks about the power of EO’s emerging programs and the impact they had on their entrepreneurial journey.

staff, Eo global

Your first experience with EO was through GSEA. What in­spired you both to join the program?
ZD: When my business partner, Ryan, first learned about GSEA, he was very excited about the possibility of meeting entrepre­neurs from around the world. For him, GSEA sounded like an amazing learning experience in a lot of different ways. It also sounded like a great opportunity to meet likeminded folk who shared the same passion to grow their businesses. I was also immediately hooked. I saw our participation in GSEA as a unique chance to explore new avenues for our business.

Your first experience with EO was through GSEA. What in­spired you both to join the program?
ZD: When my business partner, Ryan, first learned about GSEA, he was very excited about the possibility of meeting entrepre­neurs from around the world. For him, GSEA sounded like an amazing learning experience in a lot of different ways. It also sounded like a great opportunity to meet likeminded folk who shared the same passion to grow their businesses. I was also immediately hooked. I saw our participation in GSEA as a unique chance to explore new avenues for our business.

What was the Accelerator process like, and what type of value did you receive?
ZD: There are not enough words to describe my passion for Ac­celerator. I was paired up with two incredible mentors who chal­lenged me to grow Punchkick in every way possible. Through Ac­celerator, I learned about everything from top-grading employees to preparing lines of credit. Today, managing Punchkick’s growth seems like second nature to me— but as a young entrepreneur, hearing from mentors and Accelerator speakers was absolutely pivotal.

When you look back at your journey from GSEA to Accelerator to EO, what has this entire experience taught you?
ZD: Going from GSEA to Accelerator to EO, I’ve learned that being an entrepreneur is my true calling. I eat, sleep and breathe business growth. There’s nothing else that comes close. They say that ‘birds of a feather flock together,’ and that’s never truer than with fellow entrepreneurs. I’m so recharged after attending a University that I literally can’t wait to get back to work to apply the things that I’ve learned. It’s like a jolt of electricity!

What’s next for Punchkick and your EO experience?
ZD: Punchkick has an amazing future ahead of it. We’re working on some innovative mobile-marketing products that we’ll take to market later this year, and we continue to grow with Fortune- level clients that turn to us because of our award-winning experience in mobile. We’re an unstoppable force, but that force needs disciplined leadership— I hope to have that reinforced through active participation in EO. I look forward to participating in every University I can, as well as the Entrepreneurial Masters Program this year!

Zak Dabbas and Ryan Unger are co-founders of Punchkick Interactive, a full-service mobile marketing firm. Learn more by visiting www.punchkick interactive.com.

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