Young Entrepreneurs Say “YES” to Business Knowledge

Posted: October 8, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Christopher Auer wanted to make the dream of owning his own business a reality, but was unsure exactly where to start. Auer could envision his goal, but needed help taking the first steps, as well as encouragement to keep going. Information was scarce. “Being true believers in the philosophy that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it, my fiancĂ©e, Laura Carpenter, and I began to develop a plan to hold a conference geared directly toward the issues that face a young entrepreneur,” he says.

Thus, the Young Entrepreneurs Summit (YES) was born. Partnering with George Mason’s School of Management and the Entrepreneur Center at the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), Auer will see his idea come to fruition. The summit will be held on Saturday, Oct. 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Fairfax Campus. YES is for high school and college students looking for the knowledge and inspiration to begin their own business successfully.

“Entrepreneurship is contagious; attendees are subject to contracting a case of it,” says Auer. “What we hope to really impress upon attendees is that they have the ability to start their own successful business. That’s most important.”

The summit will feature several major speakers, including Alisa Beyer, owner of a private equity and business management firm, the Mirabella Group, which specializes in U.S. and European designers and fashion houses. Another speaker is 19-year-old Ryan Allis, author of Zero to One Million, who started his company, Broadwick Corp., when he was 17. He was able to build the company to $1 million in sales in 13 months. Other speakers include Charlie Thomas, Claris Capital; Matthew Mueller, Topik Solutions Inc.; Michael Simmons and Sheena Lindahl, Extreme Entrepreneurship Education Corp.; and George Connors, WashingtonFirst Bank. The summit moderator will be Yan Ling, assistant professor of management.

“We are very excited to be cosponsoring the YES event, for it will be a great learning experience for any student who has an interest in business and entrepreneurship,” says Cameron Kilberg, project coordinator for the Entrepreneur Center at NVTC. The center recently launched a web site that features resources for both technology entrepreneurs and students. The center also sponsors a half-day advisory session program, Solutions, for existing small companies and sponsors various events that pertain to technology entrepreneurs or students who have an interest in entrepreneurship.

For Auer, the summit will also be a learning experience. He is currently working on a business plan for his own company, which he hopes to start after the conference. “I hate the thought of spending my entire life fighting my way to the top of the corporate ladder,” he says. “I’m planning on building a couple of ladders.”

For more information or to register for the conference, visit the web site or e-mail

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