Do you like the idea of being your own boss?
If so, you might want to attend the Utah State University – Moab’s 2015 Entrepreneur Leadership Series. Free and open to the public, the next lecture “Disrupting Business Norms to Create Social Change” by Davis Smith, will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 4 from 6-7 p.m. at USU – Moab’s campus, 125 W. 200 South.
Smith is the founder and CEO of Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear company that donates to humanitarian causes throughout the world. He’s an example how you can both make money and have a positive impact on the world.
At age 24, Smith started his first business, pooltables.com – a successful business that he later sold.
“It was a great experience,” Smith said. “I have a passion for entrepreneurship. I have a knack for it.”
“I want to see more entrepreneurs; it’s so satisfying, so fulfilling.”
He started another business in Brazil, a baby products company that he ran for three-and-a-half years. That company is still there, but Smith returned to the United States a year ago to start his Salt Lake City-based outdoor gear company, which dedicates a certain percentage of profits to humanitarian causes. He said he was ready for something different and more meaningful.
“One of the things I feel strongly about, as business leaders we have a responsibility to help others,” Smith said. “It’s not just about the bottom line. We need to think about helping people, and the planet.”
Smith said he wants students to think about how they can make a positive impact on the world, whether that be through environmental work, or humanitarian causes.
When he was 4 years old, Smith’s family moved to Latin America, where he spent his childhood and where he “saw poverty most Americans don’t know exist,” he said. As a result, “since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to help the disadvantaged.”
Smith is one of 10 world-renowned entrepreneurs who will speak every Wednesday at USU’s Logan campus during the 2015 spring semester. A man who climbed Mt. Everest and a woman pro-triathlete are among the speakers coming up in February and March.
The Jeffrey D. Clark Center for Entrepreneurship in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business created the lecture series in part, to encourage USU students to start their own businesses, said Cynthia Gibson, management lecturer and USU economic development liaison in Moab.
Each presenter in the series is a self-made success story, Gibson said. Lecturers will share their stories, and then answer questions from the audience.
The lecture series is videotaped and broadcast live so that regional campuses statewide can offer the presentations to students and the general public. USU students can earn academic credit for signing up and attending the lectures.
“They’re to inspire, inform and educate,” Gibson said. “They can help you start, or grow your business.”
Smith’s presentation may be of particular interest in Moab, where there are several locally owned outdoor gear companies, Gibson said. Prospective entrepreneurs should note that on Feb. 11, a venture capitalist will be speaking, she said.
Free USU lecture series geared toward entrepreneurs
When: Every Wednesday through April 8 at 6 p.m.
Where: USU Moab, 125 W. 200 South
For more information, contact USU-Moab at 435-259-7432.