Entrepreneurs try to give kids a winning hand
May 15, 2006
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Poker. I don't play
well. I have a face that can't hide a good hand or disguise a
bad one. I wouldn't know a river card from the Chicago River.
But I'm showing up at the Smart Bet charity poker event Thursday
evening at the Chicago Cultural Center.
350 of Chicago's leading entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial wannabes
will be playing poker, aiming to raise an expected $30,000 to
help the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center's "Youth Entrepreneurship
Initiative," which is supported by Motorola.
David Weinstein says, "The money is being raised to provide
paid summer internships at some of Chicago's top entrepreneurial
businesses for students from Gwendolyn Brooks High School, North
Lawndale High School and Dunbar Vocational High School."
director and local entrepreneur Al Wasserberger says, "There
are parallels between great poker play and great entrepreneurial
prowess. If we play our cards right, Smart Bet will provide funding
and spotlight the need for education in entrepreneurship."
is CEO of Intellext, a local startup hoping to cash in on search
technology created at Northwestern University's Development Lab.
He's betting on a deal with Microsoft in the search engine wars.
This week, Wasserberger is focused on entrepreneurial education
and charitable fund-raising.
hopes Smart Bet will encourage more local entrepreneurs to volunteer
their time as mentors for the bright, young, innovative students
who participate in the CEC's Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative.
entrepreneur who has the fever is Flowerpedal.com founder and
President Brian Crummy. Crummy says his on-line flower business
is "rocking. It's busy times for us right now." But
the Mother's Day crush hasn't kept Crummy from mentoring students
floral arrangements are phenomenal, but there's no word yet on
whether Crummy is a great poker player. He's definitely committed
to our community.
"Our goal is to educate underprivileged kids on the process
of starting a business. The program allows students to express
themselves creatively, choosing a market sector and business model
that interests them. It requires students to display discipline,
and plan the launch of their business. The work in small groups
is a great experience."
The ante for
Smart Bet began in 2004, when Weinstein and local entrepreneurs
Chris Gladwin (MusicNow and Cleversafe), Wes Shepherd (ChannelVelocity),
Joe Jablonski (Acumence) and Chuck Templeton (OpenTable and SignMeUp)
started meeting and playing poker for charity.
estimates they raised $20,000 last year.
To learn more
go to www.Smartbet.org.
& Lloyd law partner Chris Bloom is passionate about Chicago's
tech entrepreneurship potential. Bloom is the driving force behind
the Economic Development Council's Technology Commercialization
Task Force. Last October the group drafted a thoughtful tech road
map for our region.
is back hosting a major conclave at the Chicago Federal Reserve.
an entrepreneurial ecosystem, it's important to strengthen connectivity,"
Bloom says. "Chicago has all the ingredients to be a vibrant
tech commercialization center. To be successful, our assets need
to be connected, mobilized and supported."
Chicago must establish a resource organization to provide connectivity,
benchmarking, marketing and support for tech commercialization.
his program at the Fed are leaders who succeeded here and elsewhere,
including: Ovation Pharmaceuticals Executive Chairman Bill Gantz,
CONNECT San Diego CEO Duane Roth, Deloitte Europe biotech practice
leader Stuart Henderson, St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth
Association CEO Richard Fleming and Illinois Medical District
chief of staff Mich Hein.
communities beat India at outsourcing? Kathy Brittain White, president
of Jonesboro, Ark.-based Rural Sourcing Inc., is proving it's
possible. Brittain White headlines a Society for Information Management
panel on insourcing, co-sourcing and rural sourcing at noon Wednesday
on the panel are Career Education CIO Mark Griesbaum and Transition
Partners managing director Dennis Conley.
Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.