WPI Entrepreneurship Club
The WPI Entrepreneurship Club is an affiliation of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO), a premier worldwide collegiate entrepreneurs' network and organization.
CEO's mission is "to inform, support and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and seek opportunity through enterprise creation". CEO achieves its mission through conferences, events, a newsletter, and online networking. The November 2005 CEO annual conference in Chicago drew over 1000 student entrepreneurs!
In 1983, a student meeting was held in Chicago to discuss the development of a national entrepreneurship organization for college students. The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Gerry Hills, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Twelve students, representing seven area universities, attended. Also participating was Mr. Verne Harnish, who was working with Dr. Fran Jabara to create the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs (ACE).
At the time of the meeting, entrepreneurship as a field of study was a new concept and very few universities offered coursework in the subject. The students enthusiastically discussed their own entrepreneurial aspirations and how networking across campuses could be beneficial.
This meeting planted the seed that led to the Collegiate Entrepreneurs of Illinois Conference in 1984. The conference exceeded expectations with attendance of nearly 400 students from 45 universities. UIC's Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies served as the conference headquarters and faculty and students from DePaul, Loyola, the Illinois Institute of Technology and Northwestern University assisted in the planning and implementation. The Coleman Foundation contributed generously as a sponsor and has continued that support to date.
In 1985, the name of the conference was changed to the Collegiate Entrepreneurs of the Midwest. After years of success and growth, Dr. Hills conducted research into the feasibility of creating a national/global organization. In 1997, the Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO), was launched. During the next two years, pilot conferences were held with attendance of more than 700 students representing nearly 100 universities. The Kauffman Foundation joined as a major sponsor in 1999. Kauffman support enabled CEO to add full time staff, and chapters began to appear on more and more campuses across North America. Today, CEO continues to grow and WPI is proud to be a member of this family of entrepreneurs.