Big Event for Utah Investors and Entrepreneurs, Nov. 20th

Mark Cuban pointed out on his blog last week that President Elect Obama has made his first mistake: he failed to appoint a single entrepreneur to his economic advisory team, when it is clear that "entrepreneurs that start and run small businesses will be the propellant in this economy." He suggested that the new President should "ask the people who are actually starting new businesses what they need," so that the government doesn’t adopt policies that will backfire by hurting entrepreneurs.

This morning I watched a 1 hour documentary on the Biography Channel about Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, who by 1985 was the richest man in the United States. It was especially interesting to see how he grew up during the Great Depression, and how many of his values and goals were shaped by watching his father eek out a living during the depression.

After WWII, Sam bought a five-and-dime store that was losing money and turned it around by experimenting with a new retail trend called self-service, where the customers actually browsed for their own merchandise rather than asking a clerk to get it for him. His store sales tripled. Within three years he had repaid the $20,000 startup capital he had borrowed from his father-in-law, and he was ready to expand. However, the building owner decided not to renew his lease, so Sam lost his store location.

The documentary explained the obstacles and hardships Sam Walton faced on his way to becoming the most successful retailer in the history of the world. One decision he made in 1961 that I found particularly interesting (it made me smile) was when he bought controlling interest in an Arkansas bank so he could lend himself more money to open more retail stores. Now that is creative, out of the box thinking, for an entrepreneur!

You can read about the history of Wal-Mart at FundingUniverse, along with thousands of other company histories. Many of them contain amazing stories of entrepreneurs overcoming hard times along their path to success. 

Next week, Utah Entrepreneurs have a chance to learn about steps they can take along their road to entrepreneurial success. On Thursday, November 20th, an important event for entrepreneurs and Utah angel investors will take place:

Starting Nov. 17th, Utah joins more than 100 countries and organizations representing millions of entrepreneurs to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. A highlight of Utah’s celebration is a day-long entrepreneur and angel investing event on Thursday, Nov. 20th.

The one-day event – “Unleashing Ideas: Igniting High-Growth Entrepreneurship in Utah” – takes place Thursday, Nov. 20, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Sandy’s South Towne Exposition Center. Entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, and experts in numerous core service industries will attend.

The Nov. 20th conference features the third annual Angel Summit, attracting angel investors throughout the state. Angel investors are high net-worth individuals who fund early-stage, high-potential business opportunities. Registration and additional information are available via www.GewUtah.com. (Source: UtahPulse.com)

I have agreed to participate all-day in this conference by chairing one of the tracks that will address the needs of entrepreneurs and inventors who need help raising capital or doing online marketing.

There is a quality program planned with multiple tracks, and I encourage all Utah entrepeneurs to spread the word and turn this into a well-attended event.

Against the backdrop of national economic crisis, let’s take a day to brainstorm with each other what entrepreneurs can do to create value and generate positive economic activity that will help us, as previous generations have done, claw our way back to prosperity through hard work and innovation.

I’ll see you there.

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3 Comments

  1. Good point on Obama. I have high hopes for his presidency, but I have not been watching close enough to see if he’s alienating the group of people (entrepreneurs) that I so closely relate to.

  2. In certain countries of Latin American, the Great Depression was much longer and worse. We had dictatorial government. Nazis Regimen when in US have a democracy. Argentina, Chile, Brazil, very rich countries but poor governments. We learned how to live with little. We learned how to express ourselves in different imaginative ways.

    My first “big” business was in 1996 an Internet and web designer company. We created something very successful without investors, without money, we didn’t have an office, neither a database of clients to call. Because of the circumstances we were able to CREATE a GREAT BUSINESS MODEL from NOTHING. We started calling the Yellow Pages and a few months later we had clients like Herbalife, Johnson&Johnson.

    Now that I am in a better economic situation, I am not able to make not even half what I was making in Argentina. Is it me? Is it the economy?

    **So what does it take to survive a depression?**

    I remembered some of the great ideas were developed under extremely poor circumstances like Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Monopoly. Who can survive? The richest or the stronger in mind? It does mean that new and bigger ideas are coming after this storm? Are we prepared or are we going to continue ignoring those one who need us the most?

    It was a great event but we still ignoring diversity. We need more women and more international faces.

    I was the only Hispanic Women in the event. Maybe I am an icon a symbol that is bringing a good change. There is hope and there is light and it’s not at the end of the tunnel. It’s here. Estas listo?

  3. Mari

    Two of my older sisters worked at Wal-Mart in CC, Tx when Sam Walton was still alive. He was such an original thinker that old man. I would often spend hours just browsing Wal-Mart because I knew if I showed enough interest, one of my sisters would end up buying me whatever it was I “wanted most in the whole world”. On several occasions the store was all abuzz because “the old man with the Wal-Mart hat” was walking his store. He even stopped to say hi and chit chat with the menial returns clerks like my sisters. He told one of them, “My stores are a success because of employees like you.” She was so inspired by him that she is to this day a loyal customer. For one Christmas we actually gave her a frisbee size yellow smiley face.

    Funny how trust is not transferable. She never felt the same way when he died and passed his business to his son.

    I own a very small business but I always make sure my clients feel like they can trust me personally. Hard to do when companies go big but I also think this is what won Obama the presidency, in one sentence–Obama won the trust of America.

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