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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Entrepreneurs, students connect

CEO club build support from businesses

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By Sergio Jiménez / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Travis Kellerman, CEO and co-founder of Bandojo, hands out his business card to attendees of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ organization club on Thursday. UNM CEO is a new student organization
that aims to build connections between entrepreneurs and innovators across campus.

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@ChloeHenson5

A new student organization aims to build connections between entrepreneurs and innovators across campus.

The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization club hosted its first event Thursday night. At the event, the group introduced entrepreneurs to the events’ attendees.

UNM CEO Co-President Tyler Briggs said he and other members formed the organization about a month and a half ago. He said the purpose of the organization was to reach out to different entities on campus to collaborate on business and innovation.

“Our observation has been that individuals in other colleges, like engineering, the arts, they’re the individuals who have the ideas and at Anderson (School of Management) we have the practical skills, like accounting, financing and marketing, to put those ideas into action,” he said. “That’s why we’re stressing the collaboration. We’re trying to bring the knowledge and the ideas together.”

UNM CEO Faculty Advisor Stacy Sacco said the club would host two meetings every month. He said one meeting would be a mixer to establish connections and meet successful entrepreneurs. The other meeting would be off site to visit incubators and other facilities, he said.

CEO member Jesus Del Rio said he joined the organization to meet entrepreneurs and learn their stories.

“It’s really interesting to learn from professionals, their route to success, because many of them have tried and not succeeded,” he said. “They have tried and tried until they do succeed. And being an entrepreneur is a complex path that you choose, but I think it’s very rewarding.”

Del Rio said he came from Mexico to get a master’s in entrepreneurship and science.

“I think that entrepreneurship is one of the most important things in the world because that’s what moves the world, creating a new product, discovering a new technology, moving the market, creating a new market,” he said. “Those are the things that are really important for our society.”

Del Rio said he created his own business, Amorcito Fine Mexican Bakery, which delivers cakes to the metro area of Rio Rancho and Albuquerque. He said it officially became a company last month.

Sacco said the CEO will also be involved with Innovate ABQ, an incubator being funded collaboratively by UNM, Bernalillo County and other entities.

“We’re trying to think globally, and mostly what we’re doing is tying to Innovate ABQ, quite honestly,” he said. “That’s where this is all going.”

Eri Hoshi, economic development coordinator of STC.UNM, said her organization is excited about the formation of the new student organization.

“STC.UNM … has really focused on faculty entrepreneurship,” she said. “Now, with this new community, I think it will open up for student entrepreneurship.”

STC.UNM is a non-profit organization formed by the Board of Regents. It is one of the collaborators in forming Innovate ABQ, according to the organization’s website.

The CEO teamed up with two other organizations, Association for Aspiring Technology Entrepreneurs and Innovators Pursuing Opportunities, to begin collaboration across campus.

IPO Founder Terrence Au said the organizations teaming up could make it easier for students on campus to find resources related to entrepreneurship.

“The trifecta alliance is coming together to provide a one-stop shop for all students interested in entrepreneurs and ideas,” he said.

UNM CEO Co-president Aaron Romero said the club hopes to offer students outside of Anderson the opportunity to open new business.

“You don’t need to have a business degree to open a business,” he said.