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Extreme Entrepreneurs visit Lehigh



Rob Sandie '06 (far left) demonstrates Viddler during the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour's stop at Lehigh.

On October 13, a traveling troupe of young business leaders made its latest stop at Lehigh University as part of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (EET), a high-energy road show of business pioneers nationally sponsored by Inc. Magazine.

Promoted as the country’s first-ever collegiate entrepreneur tour, EET was launched just one year ago and features a mix of on-site workshops, speed networking sessions and keynote speakers. The tour made its way to Bethlehem for a day-long event that was locally sponsored by the Joan F. & John M. Thalheimer ’55 Entrepreneurship Ventures Program Fund and the Lehigh Entrepreneurs Network.

Lehigh was a fitting venue for the tour because it is home to a rather unique blend of entrepreneurial activities that bridge each of its four colleges, according to Lisa Getzler- Linn, director of the popular Thalheimer Student Entrepreneurs Competition at Lehigh.

“Here at Lehigh we foster the notion of entrepreneurship in many ways beyond course work,” says Getzler-Linn, who also serves as the associate director of Lehigh’s award-winning Integrated Product Development program. “Bringing the Extreme Entrepreneurs Tour here was a tangible representation of the university's commitment to supporting the creative and innovative thinking that is really such a strong part of our institutional identity.”

The day was organized by Michael Simmons, who founded the tour along with fellow 2005 New York University graduate Sheena Lindahl. Both have been named to BusinessWeek magazine’s list of Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25.

The talents of local entrepreneurs and Lehigh graduates Josh Wood ‘04 and Rob Sandie ‘06 were prominently on display, as both participated in a panel that helped to kick-off the day’s activities. Wood, an international relations major, is the founder of Ruckus Marketing while Sandie, a computer science and business graduate, started an interactive video sharing Web site called Viddler.

All speakers and attendees at the event were under the age of 25, a fact not lost on 28 Lehigh students who participated in the activities.

“This event allowed me to interact with young, driven entrepreneurs that were living proof that passion can drive success,” said Tyler Susko, a 2007 Integrated Business and Engineering graduate who is now pursuing his master’s degree in mechanical engineering. “Lehigh did a fantastic job in selecting such an inspiring opportunity."

The event also featured Arel Moodie, the 23-year-old founder of placefinder.com, a website that helps college students find off-campus housing, roommates, and sublets. Keynote speaker Darren Herman talked about his experience launching IGA Worldwide, Inc., an international leader in rapidly growing in-game advertising market.

Computer Science and Business major Michael Serpico '09 enjoyed the format as well. "The speakers were very straightforward in pointing out that entrepreneurship is a lifestyle and not a job,” he said. “The best part of the event was the reinforcement by the speakers that age, knowledge or the criticisms from others should not be an obstacle in pursuing an idea. The key is hard work and discipline to follow through until the end."

--Tom Yencho


Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2007

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