By Brittany Smythe
BSBA Business Management ’10
Business management senior Eric Smith developed a unique financial support system to help combat rising tuition costs: combining his business education and passion for music, he founded a mobile disc jockey business called Revolution Entertainment.
Eller College associate dean for undergraduate programs Pam Perry used Revolution Entertainment’s services and was impressed with the quality. She nominated Smith for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), a national competition for students who own and run businesses while attending a high school, college, or university. The students present their business plans to a panel of judges to vie for cash prizes. Smith competed in Phoenix in September.
“Preparation for the event was grueling,” said Smith. “I spent many sleepless nights compiling my company’s ideas on paper and PowerPoint. I included our business model, pictures, and financials. I then practiced and practiced until I knew what I wanted to convey about my company and how I wanted to include it in my pitch.”
The GSEA competition began with a tradeshow format, in which judges roamed from booth to booth observing the different ventures and listening to student pitches. The event continued with a one-on-one personal networking session, an opportunity to capture judges’ interest for that all-important final decision. The program wrapped up with a formal dinner and reception where the winners were announced.
Judges included Jim Piccolo, CEO of Nouveau Riche; Sharon L. Lechter, co-author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad; Alfredo M. Molina, CEO of jewelry company Black, Starr and Frost; radio personality Pat McMahon; and Brandon Francis, CEO and founder of Able Information Technologies.
“It was an experience that I wish every young entrepreneur could have,” Smith said. “The things I learned and the connections I made were priceless. The judges were very interested in the level of service I provide, the intense amount of community service my company does, and my presentation skills. They wanted to help my small Tucson DJ company go national, and flooded my head with ideas.”
Although he didn’t take top honors, Smith was proud to have been selected to compete against companies that are generating millions of dollars in revenue each year. The experience provided him with ideas for expansion and improvement including a training program to educate and guide DJs and market expansion into Phoenix and locations in Texas.
“The possibility of selling has also been an avenue we have looked into,” Smith added. “We had our company appraised already and it is worth more money than I expected in my wildest dreams. Should we sell the company sooner rather than later, I plan to use that money to pay off the rest of my college tuition, and hopefully make a donation to the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.”