Success in national collegiate entrepreneurial competitions landed two UW-Whitewater students at the White House on Monday.
Andrew Hoeft of Onalaska and Daniel Fink of Ashwaubenon were selected to represent the university's Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, or CEO, at the "I Am An Entrepreneur" event.
Sponsored by the Young Entrepreneur Council, Inc. Magazine and MTV, the event brought together more than 150 entrepreneurs from colleges around the country. Speakers included business leaders, other entrepreneurs and Scott Gerber, a serial entrepreneur who last year founded the YEC.
"We have realized as a generation, (entrepreneurship) is a viable path. Now more than ever, you're needed," Gerber told the gathering, which was streamed live on the White House website. "The people in this room are going to be the innovators."
UW-Whitewater's CEO, founded in 2006, is one of the most decorated chapters in the country. In this year's national competition, held in Fort Worth, Texas, the Whitewater group took first place for best business plan by a chapter and best in-person networking event.
Fink, 19, is a freshman business major who started MacBros when he was in high school. The company repairs and sells Macintosh computers and devices and creates apps.
Monday's conference was about learning from those who have succeeded.
"All of them have the same issues (I've faced) and they jumped over those hurdles and found themselves in a better position," said Fink.
Hoeft, 19, a junior finance and marketing major, said the chance to meet and network with other entrepreneurs in a setting like the White House was invaluable. Hoeft is founder of Pinpoint Softwares, a company that creates expiration date management software for the grocery industry.
"The biggest thing is their dedication and seeing the passion they have," Hoeft said of the entrepreneurs. "It's kind of a reigniting thing for me."