I attended the 2008 National Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Annual Conference, November 6-8 in Chicago Illinois at the Hyatt McCormick Place Hotel. The conference had an amazing turn out of somewhere around 1300 collegiate students. Most students attending the conference are in entrepreneur and business related majors and are in their schools chapter of CEO. I traveled with Bradley Universities CEO group and we had around 52 students that attended the conference.
The conference consisted of meals, keynote speakers, breakout sessions, competitions, social networking, and a lot of fun. It was nice having the Conference in Chicago because it was near many nice restaraunts and places to go. The Hyatt McCormick Place Hotel was a great place to host the event and had plenty of room to spare. I would not recommend the bar/restaraunt inside the Hyatt but I’ll get into that story in a different article.
Speakers: This conference had a great showing of entrepreneur speakers known throughout the world. My personal favorite speaker was Robert Kiyosaki the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, which has had a top spot in the New York Times Bestseller list for 6 years. He had an amazingly interesting story and was very easy to listen to and inspirational. Evelyn Echols of Echols Consulting Ltd. was another entertaining and interesting speaker at the conference. For starters she is 94 years old and as sharp and strong minded as anyone I have ever met.
there were breakout sessions throughout the conference where entrepreneurs would share their experiences, secrets, and ideas with anyone who attended. The sessions were about topics such as “Internet Marketing for Business” and “10 Mistakes Early Stage Entrepreneurs Make and How to Avoid them.” Since I currently run a small online business the information provided significantly helped me brainstorm and learn or new ways to reach customers and how to sustain my business.
The Conference also had competitiong such as best website, best chapter, and an elevator pitch competition. The elevator pitch competition featured students with a business idea where they had 90 seconds to best explain their business idea. The winner received $2,500 cash. I plan to comeback next year and compete in the competition. The top 6 including honerable mention won cash prizes.
It would be impossible for me to put a price on what I learned and the contacts I made at the conference. I would urge any college student interested in business and entrepreneurship to see if their school has a CEO group and join. Some schools who have a CEO group do not attend the Conferences, and are missing out on the best thing about the Organization. College students are the best crowd to instill a passion in creating a business and working for yourself. If more entrepreneurs rise and create jobs, America might turn around sooner then some think.