RALEIGH, N.C. – National Agents Alliance President and CEO Andy Albright spoke to an audience of more than 300 people filled with students, faculty and aspiring entrepreneurs at North Carolina State University’s Entrepreneurship Initiative Lecture Series and Lulu eGames on April 29.
A total of $40,000 in prize money was awarded to undergraduate and graduate student at N.C. State in a variety of categories. Thushan Amarasiriwardena, co-founder of Launchpad Toys, delivered the keynote address after Albright’s remarks. Bob Creeden, director of Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network; Bob Young, founder and CEO of Lulu; and Jennifer Capps, director of operations and lecturer with the Entrepreneurship Initiative also spoke during the event.
Albright said it was important for successful people to support the effort of the EI program at his alma mater. He said when students can meet and share ideas with those who have already been successful it multiplies the efforts and dreams of the next generation of entrepreneurs.
“Everybody needs hope,” Albright said. “One more person smiling, patting (students) on the back and telling them they can do it huge. The only thing better than somebody telling them they can do it is having somebody that has done it in front of them. Success begets success. If I can tell them that I have achieved success … whatever it is in business and tell them that I’ve hired a lot of people and I’ve been able to stay in business for 10 years, any success – even a small success – is awesome for a new person to hear and believe. They see what it’s like. They smell it. They believe it. They shake hands with you. I want to make sure I am there for them because entrepreneurs will change the country.”
The ELS is designed to showcase outstanding innovation and entrepreneurship among N.C. State alumni and partners. The goal of the EI program is to build a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for N.C. State students through programs and opportunities that help prepare them to be North Carolina’s job creators and leaders of tomorrow.
Tom Miller, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Outreach and Entrepreneurship, said the event was a celebration of the ideas, innovations and execution of the students’ business plans.
“It’s incredibly important for the students to see, meet with and hear the stories of the successful entrepreneurs out there because no two stories are the same,” Miller said. “To learn from those who have been very successful is very valuable, and to learn from those who have tried it and failed is very valuable as well. If you don’t get out there and learn those lessons, you are missing a big opportunity and that’s one of the things we can do here is connect the students with those who have been in there shoes a few years earlier.”
Miller added that having support from Andy and Jane Albright was important part of the EI program because it allows the school to bring in dynamic speakers to inspire and encourage students with dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.
“Andy and Jane Albright have been fabulous in supporting our speaker series for five years now,” Miller said. “It’s really made a lot of things possible bringing people in and presenting in front of the community and most importantly getting the students in here with members of the entrepreneurial community. Andy understands what we are trying to do, he’s been a great supporter and he really gets it. I appreciate that very much.”
To learn more about the winners, visit the EI web site HERE.