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New club to bring together like-minded entrepreneurs

Premium content from Phoenix Business Journal - by Ty Young

Date: Sunday, February 11, 2007, 10:00pm MST - Last Modified: Thursday, February 8, 2007, 9:41am MST

Starting new projects isn't just Peter Burns' hobby, it's his business. And next week, the man who founded the country's first entrepreneurial college will add a new element to his diverse portfolio.

Club Entrepreneur, a Burns' creation, will hold its first meeting Feb. 13, bringing seasoned entrepreneurs and future startup business leaders together. Many club members are from the newly founded Grand Canyon University College of Entrepreneurship, where Burns presides as president.

The goal of the club and college is to foster new growth in the entrepreneurial arena and give startup companies an avenue for financial and leadership resources, Burns said.

"There are many people out there with great ideas but don't have a place to go with them," he said.

Burns has started more than 100 companies since age 19. Since that time, he saw a need to teach others looking build on their ideas.

After teaching two entrepreneurial classes at Arizona State University, the school turned down his request to create an entrepreneurship college. But his idea was an instant hit with GCU, where Chief Executive Brent Richardson personally invested $2 million to get the college off the ground.

When classes began in January, more than 100 students were ready and waiting to learn, with more on the way, Burns said.

The idea for Club Entrepreneur, consisting of some ASU students who followed Burns to GCU, resonated well among students, said Club Entrepreneur President Corey Kossack.

"When you are a young entrepreneur, 99.9 percent of the people out there will tell you that you can't do what you want to do," Kossack said.

Kossack, 23, was a student in Burns' entrepreneurship class at Arizona State University before graduating in December. He already is considered a success after selling more than $1 million in products on eBay, publishing the book, "eBay Millionaire or Bust" and launching other companies while attending ASU.

Although it hasn't officially launched, the club already has made waves. Rich Sloan, co-creator of international entrepreneurial resource StartupNation, has spoken with Burns and Kossack and said the club falls in line with the aim of many successful entrepreneurs.

"Club Entrepreneur is a forum where you can meet other people who complement what you're doing in some offering they have," Sloan said. "For me, part of the definition of success is helping other people succeed."

Members of Entrepreneurial Club, a similar organization at the University of Arizona, also will attend the first meeting and are interested in developing a partnership with Club Entrepreneur, said Brittany McCain, co-president.

EVENT FACTS

When: 5:30 p.m., Feb. 13
Where: Grilled Expedition, 740 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
For more: www.instituteforentrepreneurship.com/clube.html

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