Entrepreneurial Summit Follow Up

Alright, so here we are a few days after the Entrepreneurial Summit at Radford University so I wanted to share some follow up items and info about the event.

The Summit was a fantastic experience and actually went very smoothly and all most without a hitch. The event started off great with a panel discussion in the morning with Mason Gates, Angela Drummond, and Todd Gates. The setup for the discussion was set up sort of like the show “Inside The Actor’s Studio” and therefore named “Inside The Entrepreneur’s Studio. There was a lot of great discussion about how the entrepreneurs got started in their business, what has helped make them successful and pushed them to continue striving for their goals, what challenges they faced, and what pointers they would give to students. Unfortunately,Todd Gates had to leave us early after the morning session. He basically scheduled a stop in Radford, VA while flying in between COUNTRIES – after leaving us, he was on his way to Panama…the country, not the Florida city.

After the morning session, we moved to our three breakout sessions. The breakout sessions featured Cameron Johnson, Nicolette Tallmadge, and Angela Drummond. The breakout presentations were designed to last about 50 minutes and allow were done at 10 AM and 11 AM to give students the opportunity to attend more than one or to make it to one if they had class at the other time.

Cameron Johnson shared his experiences and background in his session. He touched on many key aspects of being a young entrepreneurs that are also shared in his book. He addressed a packed room of students each session that were extremely excited to meet him and be able to ask questions.

Angela Drummond spoke on the topic of “Entrepreneurship for Non-Business Majors”. Her room, while having some business students, mostly held students from all across campus including interior and fashion design, communications, media studies, and more. Angela shared her story about getting started into management consulting and how she has continued to expand her business with her passion and love for it. Students were eagerly looking for ideas and tips on how to start their business or find resources to do so while in college and when they get out of college.

Nikki Tallmadge spoke about getting over the stigma of promoting yourself and your business, making it sound not such much like you are bragging but that you are marketing your business. Students in this session seemed to be more focused on learning tips on self promotion then actually on the business side of things, however, the presentation and information was still very relevant and great.

After these sessions repeated at 11 AM, we had our luncheon and keynote presentation by Michael Simmons. Although I have communicated with Michael for the last several years through the internet and email, this was the first time I have met him and don’t count on it being the last. We had about 70 students, faculty, staff, and community members attend the luncheon including all of our presenters, the University Provost, and also the President of the University. The presentation that Michael gave “All of Nothing, Now or Never” really hit home with students helping to impress upon them at now, as a college student, really was the best time to start a business. His motivational approach to his presentation was very well received and for a guy who stands 6 feet 4 inches tall, he has some pretty funny jokes! But seriously, Michael did a great job and we are really happy that he was able to make it down to Radford for the event.

After the luncheon, we had a small break before the Elevator Pitch Competition. The competition allowed students to pitch a business idea to a panel of judges in 90 seconds with about 4-5 minutes of questions from the judges. All of the pitches were very well done with only a couple students who seemed really nervous. The energy and enthusiasm that was in the room was great and I think it will really help to stir up some entrepreneurial spirit on the Radford campus. We had everyone who entered the room sign a non-disclosure agreement to help the presenters feel that their ideas were safe to share, so I won’t go into too much detail here about what the pitches were and the winners, but know that there were some very excellent ones! The winners of the competition will receive $1500 for first place, $1000 for second place, and $500 for third place. The University will be profiling the winning students, so I will be sure to share those links with everyone as they come out over the next week or two.

The event wound up ending right at about 5:30 as the winners were announced and everyone thanked for sticking around! I was super excited that we were able to get so much support and enthusiasm from the student body throughout the day. I was also glad to be able to go home and relax after a long day, but great event!

A HUGE thank you goes out to all our sponsors: SunTrust Bank, Collegiate Entrepreneurs, College of Business and Economics, RU Club Programming Committee, and Dynamic Systems Integration. Without their support, these event would not have been able to happen. Another HUGE thank you goes out to our presenters from the day: Michael Simmons, Cameron Johnson, Nikki Tallmadge, Angela Drummond, Todd Gates, and Mason Gates.

We look forward to having the event happen next year now that the first one is over. It was a great success and an amazing learning opportunity for myself about event planning and managing. Perhaps some future posts will relate to these topics.

For now, here is a little bit of the press that we got for the event:

Radford University – RU Hosts Entrepreneurial Summit as part of SunTrust Distinguished Speaker Series

The Tartan – Start Your Business

The Roanoke Times – Students Put Their Ideas To The Test

Connecting People – Radford U Committed to Student Entrepreneurship

Also, be sure to keep an eye out on www.entrepreneurialsummit.com for more details about this years Summit and what is coming up for next year!

Thank you to everyone who came out and got involved in Radford Universities first ever Entrepreneurial Summit…it was a HUGE success because of you all!


  1. Congratulations Chris! | Dorm Room Biz - May 5, 2008

    […] not, was awarded to me for my work with the Collegiate Entrepreneurs club and also establishing the Entrepreneurial Summit. [?] Share This Posted in Uncategorized […]

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