Giving Back to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Article by:
Eric Keiles EO Philadelphia
Jade Bourelle and Dan Glisky
EO Vancouver and EO Detroit
Eric Keiles EO Philadelphia

Jade Bourelle is the EO Vancouver president. A member for more than five years, Jade has a long history of supporting collegiate entrepreneurs. In 1990, he co-founded a successful ACE (Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs) chapter, then went on to serve as executive director of ACE for three years, helping to raise funding, improve programs and initiate student entrepreneurship programs. He is the CEO and co-founder of computer software company HireDesk Inc.

Dan Glisky is a current area director and the Detroit chapter president. Dan has shown a commitment and passion for first stage entrepreneurship and is committed to driving the Accelerator program through startup and execution during the next three years. He is the president of Compsat Global Group, a computer services company he founded in 1995.

As EO members, most of us have been inspired from successful entrepreneurs we admire. When I was in college, a group of early YEO members spent time with me and a group of friends, speaking to our university entrepreneurs club (ACE) and acting as formal mentors to a group of us budding entrepreneurs. Only fifteen years later, I find myself the president of EO Vancouver.

The EO organization has meant a lot to me as I grew my businesses, both as a place to aspire to before I was a member and even more so now. Remembering the time I was given by EO members and what it meant, I now spend a lot of time in return supporting young, aspiring entrepreneurs. It’s great to see their enthusiasm and even better to watch them succeed, employ people, create jobs and join EO.

In January 2006, EO joined in a community relations partnership with Mercedes-Benz Financial (MBF) that will help these young and early-stage entrepreneurs from around the world grow their businesses. Through this relationship, we will produce two powerful programs: The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) and the EO Accelerator Program.

The EO Accelerator and GSEA programs will help EO expand its entrepreneurial reach to younger entrepreneurs. Both programs are for existing entrepreneurs who are on the road to becoming future EO members.

The plans have been in development for some time, and the recent alliance with Mercedes-Benz Financial as a new EO partner will allow both programs to move forward aggressively.

Dan Glisky, EO Detroit, and I have the privilege of chairing two committees that will direct these new initiatives. I will head the GSEA Committee and Dan will chair the EO Accelerator Program Committee.

Since 1998, the GSEA program, a program run out of the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University, has honored outstanding undergraduates. The program’s mission is to inspire students to adopt entrepreneurial endeavors by bringing global visibility to undergraduate business owners whose companies adhere to high ethical standards and are innovative, profitable and socially responsible.

For EO, running these awards is our way to give back and plant seeds with college entrepreneurs who will one day be EO members. We will be adding high profile entrepreneurs as judges, getting our members involved regionally and also providing mentors to the regional and global award winners.

In addition to the GSEA program, the EO Accelerator Program will provide the learning resources necessary to help young business owners take their businesses to the next level. Through structured entrepreneurial learning, including case studies and best practices from EO members, this program will catalyze the growth necessary for young business owners to reach the US$1 million mark in annual sales revenue, joining the elite EO community of the world’s most influential entrepreneurs.

Like many of us, Dan knows what an important role we play in the lives of these young people.

According to him, "I wanted to get involved with the EO Accelerator Program because, having been a first stage entrepreneur, I can understand what it takes to grow a business from nothing to a structured organization that is sustainable. I see many first stage entrepreneurs who are struggling to get their companies to the next level, and I know the Accelerator Program will help these entrepreneurs gain the expertise they need to grow their companies. This is our opportunity, as entrepreneurs who have been there, to help these growing businesses to survive and be more successful."

We are busy recruiting leading entrepreneurs, judges and EO members to work with us and our various regional partners. If you or your chapter is interested in participating, please contact me at [email protected], Dan Glisky at [email protected] or Dean Lindal at [email protected].

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