The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) is a global network that has over 250 chapters on college campuses across the country. Bradley’s chapter began in 1983.
CEO aims to support and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and seek entrepreneurial opportunities, regardless of their field of study.
“There was a guest speaker, and he asked us to introduce ourselves,” CEO President and senior graphic design major Angeleen Hill said. “I was like, ‘I’m a graphic designer, I don’t belong here, I’m just here to be here.’ and the guest speaker [said] ‘I’m a graphic designer, too’ and then he started talking about how [words like] entrepreneur, entrepreneurial … don’t just mean business owner.”
CEO connects students that are interested in starting their own business with a network of on-campus resources. Meetings are focused on these resources, getting to know each other and developing business ideas.
“Business is a lot more computerized and colder, so it kind of has that no feelings, no sympathy attachment to it,” CEO PR/Marketing manager and senior graphic design major Nyles Williams said. “But moving on into what my career is gonna be, I have recognized that having that balance is a key to success. I felt that the CEO club was a great way to get that touch.”
CEO members assist with advertising, financial information and developing professional skills. Guest speakers have helped members improve communication, fundraising and marketing abilities.
“In this club you come for resources, but as a member you are also a resource,” Hill said.
CEO has pop-up shops in the Michel Student Center where students are able to sell their products or advertise their businesses and collect all of the proceeds.
Students who have business ideas but lack the finances to get started can enter CEO’s Global Pitch Competition. The first-place winner receives $8,000 in funding and assistance in filing patent applications. The Global Pitch Competition is a three-month long competition that culminates in a conference in Tampa, Florida.
“It’s also a big conference for networking,” said Hill. “Half of it is the pitch competition, and the other half is networking workshops and skills workshops and collaboration for CEO chapters across the country.”
When the campus shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO halted all meetings and events. The experienced members graduated, so when CEO returned last fall, the club had to start from scratch.
“We’re kind of building it back up from the ground,” Hill said.
If you have an idea for a business venture and you need help getting it off the ground, or just want to meet like-minded entrepreneurial thinkers, you can find details of the CEO’s next meeting on their Instagram @bradley_ceos.