Today at the Blacksburg High School Auditorium, we hosted over 100+ students from all around the county for a 3-hour conference on the topic of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship has always had a place for me. It’s a word that has truly tainted and impacted my life and a lifestyle that I truly wish to live. But the conference was not about me today, it was about inspiring my peers, my friends, my generation. My generation has become ever-the-so complacent, as one of the speakers said, “rather than engaging and interacting with fellow peers, we instead choose to binge-watch Netflix.” I fear for the future that we are designing and the generation after us. The entrepreneurship conference helped shine some light on the subject. I invited four amazing speakers to come from all walks of life including previous CEOs, current directors, and a seasoned-litigator. The goal was not to inform, or to warn, but to inspire, to help my generation recognize the problem in the epidemic and devise a solution. To crave for more and to think beyond.
Preparing for the Conference
The Conference took a lot of preparation, from the nitty gritty details of gathering the initial speakers, to the final minute of getting mics set up for the speakers. Looking back on all the time and effort put into the conference, it sure was a lot.
At the outset, I contacted over 10 different speakers, 6 of which rejected the invitation, only about 4 to 5 weeks in advance were we finally able to secure the four speakers that were on stage today. Next came advertising. Advertising was hectic, designs of the flyers, the banners, the slideshow took days upon days. Setting up the booth and making late night trips to OfficeDepot were all apart of the process. Despite the poor performance of the advertisements and the large banners advertising “The Entrepreneurship Conference” substantial students came from all different schools throughout the county.
Next came the day of the presentation: a day full of stress, anxiety, freaking out when the presentation didn’t work only to realize that all we had to do was restart the computer. I got to the school at 8:05 and didn’t finish setting up until 11:35, 25 minutes before the actual conference. In fact, we were behind schedule (thankfully all ended well). In the end, all panic was gone, things were set up, speakers were on, mics were set up, and the lights were dim. The show had begun.
Link to Promo Video: https://youtu.be/cck4e-rKK-c
The Conference Itself
The conference itself was a success. All the speakers did wonderfully and had insightful talks, talks that inspired our new generation. Some talks were on the entrepreneurial mindset, others were on startups and legal issues. But the overall goal was to help all of us define what an entrepreneur was and how we could all be entrepreneurs. Every single presentation slide was carefully crafted to the nitty gritty details and the promotional video to hype the crowd up was done with tons and tons of hard work (credits to my younger brother Jonathan). But in the end, everyone said the conference was amazing, fun, intriguing, and inspiring.
I believe that in each one of us, there is the potential to be an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is not someone that is rich or starts their own company; an entrepreneur is someone that wants to make a difference, wants to change the world, and in doing so, reaps the reward of joy, freedom, and stability. I think that organizing this conference helped give me a glimmer of that dream. It gave me hope for our generation to keep moving forward and to keep making our mark on this world. Sure the turnout wasn’t as large as we thought it was going to be, but the comments, responses, the professionalism that was shown, and the inspiration that was wrought made it all the more special experience.