Entrepreneur Events Spotlight: CEO Global Conference

CEO Global Conference

CEO Global Conference attracts about 1,000 collegiate level students and faculty advisors from around the world. Attendees can network, listen to seasoned entrepreneurs and experts, and learn from fellow students who are transitioning from dreamers to doers.


Managing Director, James N. Zebrowski Jr.

Name: The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization

Website: c-e-o.org

Event: Global Entrepreneur Conference & Pitch Competition

Interviewed: James N. Zebrowski, Jr., Managing Director

This article is part of our Entrepreneur Events Spotlight featuring entrepreneurial events from around the world. We hope these interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.

In four sentences or less, tell us about your event and its objectives.

Annually, The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) hosts an informative, action packed global conference that attracts nearly 1,000 collegiate level students (and their faculty advisors) from around the world. During the three-day conference, attendees network with other entrepreneurial-minded students and listen to presentations from seasoned entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, motivational speakers and fellow students who are making the transition from dreamers to doers. One of the highlights of the conference is the CEO Global Pitch Competition. CEO accepts a total of 200 submissions for grand prizes of $15,000 in funding.

Why is your event unique? Please describe the benefits.

The CEO Global Conference is specifically designed for over 85 entrepreneurial speakers to connect with our collegiate entrepreneurs (about 1,000 in attendance). These speakers provide guidance around a wide variety of assurance of learning topics such as Staring a Business, Accounting & Legal Issues and Social Entrepreneurship. Students choose what topics they would like to sit for to custom develop the guiding points in their venture launch. The event features a student pitch competition, chapter development sessions, keynotes from recognizable brands, business simulations, a career fair, exhibitor space and chapter/individual awards.

What struggles has the event faced and how has your event evolved?

We have been hosting this conference for over 30 years. Beginning in the 1970’s, very few universities offered coursework for students interested in becoming entrepreneurs. Students often had very few resources, opportunities, and outlets to help them reach their entrepreneurial dreams. At this point, no national student organization served this interest.

In 1983, a meeting was held to discuss developing an entrepreneurship organization for students who wanted to one day become an entrepreneur. From this meeting stemmed the origins of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs of Illinois Conference. After the conference’s continuous years of success and growth, the focus had shifted to creating a national/global organization supporting student entrepreneurship. In 1997, the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) had launched. 

CEO currently supports entrepreneurship in over 250 chapters in all 50 states and worldwide. Our CEO Global Conferences have had nearly 1,400 in attendance and continue to grow every year.

What do you find most appealing about working with students who are interested in your event?

The students who attend the CEO Global Conference are true business professionals. I find it inspiring that the students at our conference pay for their trip, fundraise to help get their entire membership at the conference, and develop unique networking techniques to sell their products/services at the event.

Tell us about your success stories;

  • How has your event benefitted the attendees?
    • CEO calculates that after each conference we host, we’ve infused the entrepreneurial energy to more than 16,000 students. This is by way of energizing and engaging the audience at the conference. The students in attendance bring back energy and excitement for their fellow members. This helps to develop the ecosystems that we have put in place by way of student organizations at more than 250 universities/college campuses.
  • Which are the most interesting event winners? In your opinion, have they been successful?
    • Each year, CEO names chapter award winners, pitch competition winners and a young entrepreneur of the year award. Last year, CEO named Nick Martin with Signature Lacrosse as the Young Entrepreneur. Signature Lacrosse has achieved over 1.5mm in sales and continues to grow.
    • The first-place winner of the Global Pitch Competition, Josh Doering, pitched Seed Slide. By March of 2017, Seed Slide received 50 new unit orders.

What are the three most important factors people interested in attending your event should consider?

  1. Consider that not every benefit of an event is immediately visible – network, connect and develop relationships. Who knows when you’ll find your first co-founder.
  2. This event is developed to attract a wide range of business launching entrepreneurs. Not every one of our CEO members are business founders, however, they all possess the entrepreneurial mindset.
  3. The experts in attendance are here to help develop and drive entrepreneurial initiatives forward. It is important to be very understanding of their volunteer time, as well as willing to accept valuable constructive feedback.

If someone is interested in your event, what should they do?

Do you have a strong entrepreneurial mindset, thrive off of innovative concepts, and enjoy being immersed with like minded peers? Visit http://www.c-e-o.org/page/2017conf for more information. If you want or need additional details, please give us a call at (813) 258-7236.

Are you familiar with other events you believe should be spotlighted? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them, sharing your comments below! 

Dave Clark