LU News Archive

Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour scheduled, April 24

Lamar University will host the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (EET) April 24 with keynote speakers who are the world’s top entrepreneurs still in their 20s.  Landes Auditorium, in the Galloway Business Building, will be the venue for EET speakers, exhibits and panel discussions from 9 a.m. through 1:30 p.m.  The daylong event will introduce students and the community to the opportunities available through entrepreneurship, and to explore ways in which they can help drive the economy, create jobs for themselves and pursue their passions.

            Steven Washington will be one of the two keynote speakers for the event.  At the age of 11, he took on his first job working with a small business owner.  It was then he realized that being an entrepreneur was exactly what he wanted to do with his life. From that point forward, Washington read every book he could find on business, asked numerous questions of every entrepreneur he met, and made every effort possible to realize this dream. Nine years later, while pursuing a finance degree from West Chester University, he launched his first company.  Washington Distributions, an import/export business brokered international deals between clothing/apparel manufacturers in Southeast Asia and retailers (both online and offline) in the US, Europe and Africa. This business began generating upwards of $10,000 a month in profits - all while operating out of his college dorm room.

            The young entrepreneur then started the Washington Investment Group, LLC, a real estate investment company that specializes in acquiring distressed real estate from private owners. After six and a half years in that business, and fully establishing himself as a real estate mogul in the Philadelphia area, Washington has gone back to his international business roots and has launched a second company called I Love Remy Hair, Inc. Throughout his career, Washington has received many accolades and awards. His proudest achievement was being honored at the White House as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under thirty years of age. He has also been featured in national newspapers, documentaries and other media for his entrepreneurial endeavors.

            The second keynote speaker will be Duane Spires.  During his first year at the University of South Florida he decided to start a company to teach sports enrichment classes to children at local schools. He created Extreme Youth Sports Inc. EYS quickly expanded to more than 50 locations with several employees in the Tampa Bay area offering karate, dance, cheerleading, tennis, fitness, and team sports classes. In 2008, Extreme Youth Sports had expanded into other markets including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Fla., Portsmouth, Ohio, and Sacramento, Calif. through its business opportunity sales to aspiring entrepreneurs.

            Spires currently serves as a board member for the Entrepreneur's Organization, which is a global organization committed to the growth of its member businesses. He is also a professional ring announcer for MMA cage fighting events and has been featured on several television programs and interviewed many famous sports athletes.

            Moderator for the event will be E.J. Carrion, the co-author of top-selling book, Ignite Your Dreams: How to Build and Accelerate Your Life as a Top-Notch Student, and the co-publisher of internationally recognized brand "Collegiate Performance Magazine.” Carrion is currently running a leadership training company for high school and college organizations and is co-founder of a tech start-up that helps people use their online network to enhance their lives away from the computer.

            All this before his 22nd birthday, he has already spoken to more than 15,500 students in 11 states and has worked with organizations such as Teach For America, Management Leaders of Tomorrow, and facilitated seminars for the government.

            Always an entertainer, Spires likes to rap and has shared the stage with rappers like Savage, who produced a platinum single titled "Let Me See Your Hips Swing". One of his rap songs was used by ESPN College Game Day.

            Prospective entrepreneurs should be inspired, not intimidated, by the current economic climate, according to Michael Simmons, co-founder of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour. “More than half the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list were launched during a recession or bear market,” said Simmons. “Technology and globalization have made it very inexpensive to start a business. Now is the best time to become your own boss.”