By Ashlynn Worley
When you think of the word entrepreneur, perhaps you imagine a local, small business owner. Or maybe you picture a famous CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Instead, imagine someone like yourself.
Four years ago, Samuel Deleon, senior history major, joined the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, also known as CEO club, a national organization. From a young age, Deleon said he always dreamed of starting a small business one day.
“The world is more interconnected than you think and so if you don’t think it [entrepreneurship] applies to you, it could apply to you in any aspect,” Deleon said. “Maybe when you don’t get the job you want or maybe you come up with an idea, you can always start your own business and build around it.”
Dr. Cynthia Haliemun, director of Quincy University’s CEO club, partnered with Score, a nationwide, nonprofit association, to host the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series that is held at the Student Success Center.
The most recent event in the semester-long series focused on entrepreneurship in a global organization.
Deepak Balaji, the special guest speaker, is a native of Zambia and India. However, he started right here in the Midwest region as a plant engineer. He works with one of the world’s largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers, Archer Daniels Midland.
Balaji’s intent for his presentation was to teach students a different perspective of what it means to be an entrepreneur. He also discussed the myths and realities of the business world.
“I wouldn’t say by definition, I’m an entrepreneur. But it’s about thinking entrepreneurially,” Balaji said. “Be involved in as many things as you can, network, just try as many things as you can in college. Don’t be scared of failing because it’s almost like trial and error. Don’t feel shy and try anything new, anything out of your comfort zone.”
Comprised of mostly QU business majors, CEO club members, and a few community members, the recent entrepreneurship event drew a small crowd. Balaji informed his audience the average age of a first-time entrepreneur is 39 years old.
Among the few students in attendance was Landon Ruzicka, a freshman business management major.
“Events like this gives you that real-world, outside the classroom experience,” Ruzicka said.
Community members and students of all majors are invited to the next entrepreneurship speaker series. The CEO club will announce more information about upcoming events in the next few weeks.
“This event was not necessarily entrepreneurial, it was more like life lessons. It teaches you to immerse yourself in different areas that you wouldn’t necessarily be in and have an entrepreneurial mindset. That mindset is indispensable, you can take it and apply it to other areas in your life,” Deleon, senior and CEO club member, said.
For anyone interested in learning more about CEO and its events, QU’s CEO club meets every Monday at 9:30 p.m. in Francis Hall room 207.
In addition to the entrepreneurship series, QUEST/Career Services are also hosting different events throughout the semester. Events held in both series’ relate to one another and can prove beneficial to those who attend.