Pokemon Cards and Boy Scout Retreats Spark Success for Young Entrepreneurs

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Northwood University Hosts Young Entrepreneurship Forum for Students
Conrad Alagaban Jr., of Con Soleil, speaking to the Northwood students

Conrad Alagaban Jr., of Con Soleil, speaking to the Northwood students

Aaron Silverthorn

Aaron Silverthorn

Justin Anderson

Justin Anderson

Phillip Stoleman

Phillip Stoleman

May 3, 2012

CEDAR HILL, Texas –On Thursday night, April 26, Northwood University held its first Entrepreneurship Forum hosted by Professor Ronald Sekerak and the newly formed entrepreneurship club. During the forum, Northwood introduced four young entrepreneurs. These young entrepreneurs shared stories about their life, how they became successful and words of wisdom to encourage others.

The first speaker of the night was Conrad Alagaban Jr. who at 25 has started his own successful business, Con Soleil. Con Soleil is a marketing firm that reaches out to the community to inform residential and commercial neighborhoods about services and opportunities. He explained how he was a natural born seller and that he started in middle school by selling Pokemon cards to his peers. “People buy on emotion,” said Alagaban. He told the students that networking is the key to becoming successful. “You already know every single person that you need to know”, said Conrad. He stressed the values of becoming a successful entrepreneur and establishing a healthy relationship with your employees.

The next speaker was Justin Anderson. At the age of 18, Anderson created his own granola company, Anderson Trails. He explained how it started his freshman year of high school with a trip to New Mexico with his best friend when he first tasted soft granola. A year later, before a Boy Scout trip he decided to make his own granola for the group. Everyone loved it and the Original Recipe was born. “I am honored and energized to speak to students close to my age,” exclaimed Anderson. He even passed out granola to the students to taste his success in the granola industry. Evan Criddell, a sophomore finance major, said, “I really enjoyed his story and the free granola. I can definitely see why he is so successful”.

The other two speakers, Phillip Stoleman and Aaron Silverthorn, also spoke about their businesses in the field of information technology. Silverthorn who’s a jack of all trades is a “Builder of relationships and brands”. He owns Solutia, where he is the business analyst and consultant for business development leads for Dallas, Texas. He relayed to the students how he was the chief executive for Geek Meet, which is a laid-back social media site that connects web developers and people interested in the web scene.  Silverthorn’s philosophy for networking is, “Remember to keep the connection, know where you stand, and in a business never lose your professional or your personal integrity”.

Stoleman owns IT Republic. IT Republic helps companies market their website to attract the greatest number of target visitors. He began working on websites while obtaining his master’s degree.

The students enjoyed the forum and the meet-and-greet afterwards. Nhu Phuong Nguyen, sophomore fashion marketing major, said, “I really appreciated all of the speakers that came out to talk to us. I learned a lot and they are so young to be so successful”.

 The atmosphere was down to earth and serene. “I always appreciate getting to learn and picking the brains of those before me. It feels like I’m hanging out with friends” said Conrad Alagaban. The students are looking forward to the next forum held by the entrepreneurship club.

ABOUT NORTHWOOD UNIVERSITY

Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at three full-service, residential campuses located in southern Florida, mid-Michigan and northern Texas. Adult Degree Programs are available in eight states with many course delivery options including an online option. The DeVos Graduate School offers day and evening programming in Michigan, Texas, Florida and Switzerland. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise in Midland, Michigan, specializes in creative thinking and innovation development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in Switzerland, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.