By Steve Gatena, an EO Los Angeles member and founder and CEO of REP Interactive
When most people think of a “family business,” they likely think of a company that’s been handed down the family chain from generation to generation. I took a different approach. When I was 22, I launched REP Interactive, a global video and broadcast media production company. Bucking the trend, I chose to hire friends and family to help me realize my vision, knowing full well that running and maintaining a business was going to be a challenge. Read more
By Heather Baker, an EO UK-London member, and founder and CEO of TopLine Communications, a digital communications consultancy
An article I read recently got me thinking: How many of the entrepreneurs I know have earned a university degree? Two thirds? Half? A better question is: How many of the graduates among them, if they could go back, would enroll all over again for those years of cloistered (or not so cloistered) study?
If my experience is anything to go by, I think the vote would be split. I did go to university, and looking back it was in parts very useful, in parts not at all. And I know several entrepreneurs who boast great business talent having never seen the inside of a lecture theatre. Which isn’t to say that higher education will not equip you for a career as an entrepreneur; I believe it can. However, I would stop short of calling it a necessary condition of business success. Read more
By Ishwar Chugani, an EO U.A.E. member and managing director of Giordano
When I was in university, I wanted to be different. So, I did something unexpected. Right after graduation, in 1979, I left my home in the Philippines and moved to Dubai. Back then, it created quite a stir, as my family has its own business and I was expected to take the helm. But that was not what I wanted to do.
So, I set off on a journey to an unchartered territory. I joined a Dubai-based group of companies, where I was tasked to open and operate the first family entertainment center in Dubai. Failure was not an option, as I could not turn back and go home empty-handed. I had to succeed. But how? Read more
By Rowena “Ro” Crosbie, an EO Iowa member and president of Tero International, Inc.
It was a stereotypical small business startup. The year was 1993. The business idea was to provide presentation-skills training to professionals who believed that competitive advantage was due, at least in part, to the ability to communicate persuasively and confidently.
The bank required US$200 to open a business account. That was the startup capital. My first office was a spare bedroom in our Iowa, USA, farmhouse. My two house cats, who I named vice presidents of the company, were my constant companions (at least as constant as you can be when you sleep 16 hours a day). Read more
By Jason Beukema, an EO South Florida member and owner of Whet Travel
The “road to yes” is more than just a journey toward success and positive thinking, it’s about truly knowing yourself – your highs, your lows, your strengths, your setbacks – and carving a niche that you can own that will be your own. As I moved the tassel from right to left with an entrepreneurship degree from Central Michigan University, I knew I had to dream big and work hard to be the quintessential success I had so carefully and keenly set out to become. But what did that even mean, and where and how would I begin? Read more