21st Century Entrepreneurial Business Strategies Conference set for Oct. 9

AMES, Iowa -- The numbers are staggering. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that only 44 percent of new small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees) make it within four years of launch. And that number may be shrinking given the current state of the economy.

That means successful small business owners need to be entrepreneurial and think innovatively to survive, says Thomas Chacko, an Iowa State University business professor and management chair.

Chacko also is director of the 21st Century Entrepreneurial Business Strategies Conference -- hosted by ISU's College of Business -- on Thursday, Oct. 9.

The conference will feature prominent business leaders from Google, Kinko's, The Roasterie and locally-based Albaugh, Inc.; and will focus on factors driving business opportunities -- such as technology, people, capital and energy. The event will take place in the Scheman Building of the Iowa State Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

"The conference will teach participants how to not only seize business opportunities, but sustain the model of entrepreneurship -- and that's the key part," Chacko said.

Panel discussions will include such topics as future energy sources, financing, global market issues and entrepreneur resources. Conference participants will have the opportunity to interact and network with the speakers and ISU College of Business faculty following the sessions.

Speakers scheduled to appear include:

  • Dennis Albaugh, chairman of Albaugh Inc. This Ankeny-based company is recognized as the largest wholly owned, independent formulator/packager of crop protection products in the industry.
  • Paul Orfalea, founder, Kinko's, Inc. Orfalea founded the copying business in 1970 and built it into a leading international business service chains. Since retiring in 2000, he has co-authored two books: "Copy This," which is filled with life lessons on turning obstacles into opportunities; and "The Entrepreneurial Investor," which shares a creative approach to value investing.
  • Danny O'Neil, president and owner of The Roasterie Inc. Known as the "Bean Baron," O'Neil started his company 15 years ago in the basement of his home and has developed it into a well-known specialty coffee roasting company. He is an Iowa State graduate.
  • Chris Russell, manager for Google Inc. of Iowa. Russell will oversee Google's new data collection facility opening in Council Bluffs this year.
  • Roya Stanley, director of the Office of Energy Independence. The office sets the strategic direction for Iowa's clean energy future and also manages the Iowa Power Fund.
  • Sarah Grant, owner of Sticks Inc. Grant started the company in 1992 with a focus on a unique line of furniture, accessories and object art. Since its establishment, Sticks has received several national awards for its products, which are handcrafted in Des Moines.

"We have two sets of speakers: thought leaders who have observations about capital and energy resources -- resources that affect entrepreneurial success long-term -- and others who are action-driven people with compelling stories about their entrepreneurial journeys," Chacko said.

The conference fee is $149 for early registrations received on or before Wednesday, Oct. 1, and $199 after that date. The fee includes all conference materials, speaker sessions and lunch.

To register or obtain more information, call (515) 294-6222; e-mail tichacko@iastate.edu; or visit the conference Web site at http://www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/businessstrategy/home.html.