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2011 Rickert Visiting Entrepreneur and Speakers Series

Fall 2011: Wil Schroter

Wil SchroterThe Rickert Visiting Entrepreneur and Speaker Series program kicked off its inaugural event by hosting Wil Schroter (pictured) of Columbus, Ohio, at University Center in Sioux Falls and the SDSU Brookings campus on November 15. Approximately 50 individuals attended the presentation at University Center, and 200 attended the presentation held in the Volstorff Ballroom on the Brookings campus.

Schroter's well-received presentation, "There's nothing but opportunity in front you," encouraged those in attendance to look for opportunity around them and go for it! Main points of his talk included:

  • You're already capable of being successful
  • Make no start-up excuses
  • Fake it 'til you make it
  • You have nothing to lose

Schroter began his first company, Blue Diesel, a web design company, in 1997 (at age 19) while attending Ohio State. Through a series of transactions, Schroter expanded his economic footprint. Schroter has created nine companies, and, in true entrepreneurial spirit, some have been successes and some haven't. His work has centered around the internet.

Other companies he is involved with include,, Virtucon Ventures, and Schroter also serves on the boards of Commerce National Bank, a business-to-business commercial bank, and, a leader in the processing of online payments.

He is a nationally-syndicated columnist for American City Business Journals, where his entrepreneurial advice appears in more than 40 markets. He is a contributing columnist for Forbes magazine as well as the author of the 2006 book, "Go Big or Go Home," which details how to grow startup companies.

Ernst & Young and the U.S. Small Business Association both honored Schroter as Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999, and he is the 1998 recipient of the Ohio Young Entrepreneur Award.

Schroter's talk is the first event in the Rickert Visiting Entrepreneur and Speaker Series at SDSU. It is named after Craig Rickert, the chief executive officer for C.A. Rickert and Associates in Sioux Falls. He was honored with the SDSU Department of Economics Alumnus of the Year Award for 2011. Rickert, a 1978 alumnus, provided a gift to SDSU to establish the Rickert Visiting Entrepreneur and Speaker Series.

The speaker series will bring in experts to campus during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November and National Entrepreneurship Week in February.

The founder of a well-known restaurant chain will soon be announced as the National Entrepreneurship Week speaker for February 2012.

For more information, contact Barb Heller, entrepreneurial studies coordinator at SDSU, at 605.688.6522 or by email.

Wil Schroter Presentation