Panel discussion attracts aspiring business owners

A panel gathered Wednesday to speak about entrepreneurship.


Mark Vancleave


by Andrea Schug and Luke Feuerherm

A panel discussion featuring some of MinnesotaâÄôs most successful entrepreneurs was held Wednesday evening at the 3M Auditorium, which was filled with aspiring business owners. The panel gathered for the launch of Dr. Dileep RaoâÄôs new book âÄúBootstrap to Billions: Proven Rules from Entrepreneurs who Built Great Companies from Scratch.âÄù The book highlights 28 entrepreneurs who all have started businesses from scratch and built businesses worth over $100 million. These entrepreneurs include founders of businesses including Medtronic, Best Buy and United Health. The majority of the bookâÄôs 28 entrepreneurs have gotten their start at the University of Minnesota. âÄúAs we are struggling to create new jobs, we look at what theyâÄôve done and what we can learn,âÄù Rao said. The panel featured eight of the 28 entrepreneurs featured in RaoâÄôs book. The panel discussion was hosted by the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship. âÄúIt is a good stimulation of people, because we always wonder what it takes to be an entrepreneur,âÄù said panel member Gary Holmes of CSM Corporation. Panel member Ed Flaherty, owner of Rapid Oil Change, took the opportunity Wednesday to advise those looking to start a business. âÄúThe pre-concepts when getting businesses started and going are talent, hard work and luck,âÄù Flaherty said. Accounting second-year Yongxi Wu came to the discussion to get a feel for how entrepreneurs start businesses and looked for motivation in fulfilling her dreams of entrepreneurship. Minnesota, once a bastion of entrepreneurship, has not recently enjoyed the same success that it once had. The state is home to the highest per capita number of Fortune 500 companies in the nation âÄî none of which have been created in the past 25 years. RaoâÄôs book celebrates AmericaâÄôs rich history of entrepreneurship and hopes to inspire those who might otherwise pass up the opportunity of starting a business. âÄúI want to see people opt to work for themselves rather than take a low paying job,âÄù said panel member Tim Doherty of Doherty Employment Group. âÄúThey all have qualities of becoming entrepreneurs.âÄù WednesdayâÄôs panel left an inspirational impression on many attendees looking to start their own businesses. âÄúThere are so many ideas,âÄù Wu said. âÄúIf one doesnâÄôt work, give up and try another. The only thing limited is time.âÄù