The History of EO

It's been more than 25 years since a group of forward-thinking entrepreneurs created a network of likeminded peers to help each other learn and grow. Follow the evolution of EO below - from its beginnings as YEO and WEO - and discover how we grew into the world's most influential community of entrepreneurs.

1980s – Early Beginnings

1987-1988 Verne Harnish and 22 former members of the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs create "their own path" for continued personal and business growth; this organization eventually becomes the Young Entrepreneurs' Organization (YEO®) YEO® holds its first official event in Nassau, Bahamas, with 57 members in attendance


YEO® opens its first office in Washington, D.C., USA, to manage operations Andrew Sherman of Jones Day becomes YEO®'s legal counsel; incorporation papers are filed in the spring of 1988


YEO® is officially incorporated in November 1989 Birthing of Giants (now known as the Entrepreneurial Masters Program) is created as a continuing education opportunity focused on practical business management

1990s – Global Growth

1990-1993 YEO® expands its reach with eight total chapters, along with joint programs with the USSR and China Continued chapter expansion, especially in Canada, presents the need for a governing body for the organization; a Global Board of Directors is formed Membership begins to expand exponentially as the "no borders" policy is developed to establish one truly international organization The first international Forum training takes place, becoming the largest such session to date


YEO® teams up with Ernst & Young for the first "Entrepreneur of the Year" award Several new chapters are launched outside of North America, primarily in Asia and Europe YEO® receives its first grant from the Kauffman Foundation to help foster entrepreneurship worldwide IBM becomes the first official corporate sponsor of YEO®


YEO® celebrates its 10th anniversary, while hitting the 1,000-member milestone The World Entrepreneurs' Organization (WEO®) is created as a graduate program for YEO® members YEO®'s membership increases by more than 35% to eclipse 2,775 total members European expansion continues with the launch of six new chapters, including EO London and EO Amsterdam The "Strategic Vision Statement" is created to drive the organization to be the "premiere, peer-to-peer global community, network and resource for entrepreneurs"


The Forum program begins to more closely resemble its current state, with Moderator-training programs and higher-level experience-sharing being offered Pilot Mentorship programs begin, reconfirming the YEO®/WEO® commitment to peer-to-peer learning EO is formally established as an umbrella organization to house YEO® and WEO® under one single brand


WEO® chapters begin to solidify their identity with the EO brand The new brand is officially launched at the Global Leadership Conference (GLC), with EO eventually becoming the standard brand of the organization The EO Accelerator program begins, with support from Mercedes-Benz Financial EO introduces Octane, a quarterly magazine designed to educate and inspire its members through member-written stories EO begins to assume control of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) from St. Louis University


EO's first Global Leadership Summit is held in Canada EO Injected launches, with its EO Insignia and EO Quantum Leap programs focused on providing additional resources to tenured and high-revenue members EO24 is held for the first time as a truly global learning initiative, with live-streaming events and knowledge-sharing from 60 chapters in 17 time zones The Global Entrepreneur Indicator is launched, creating a quarterly tracking mechanism for the economic outlook of entrepreneurs worldwide​