June 15, 2009

By Roey Gilberg

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA Anderson, the Entrepreneur Association, and the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies hosted the 24th annual Entrepreneurs Conference on May 8. Titled "The Entrepreneurial Road Less Traveled," the event brought together students, alumni, faculty, and a wide array of business leaders and professionals for a full day of speakers, panel discussions, and networking.

This year's conference sought to explore the world of entrepreneurship in today's unstable business climate. The opening keynote address was delivered by Richard Rosenblatt, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Demand Media, a social media company. "This is the best time to be an entrepreneur," said Rosenblatt. "Because everyone else is afraid, everybody else is shrinking their budgets. Everyone else is going back to their day jobs. I think if you're optimistic, this is the time when great companies are going to be built because there are not as many companies being funded, there are not as many companies doing it."

Following Rosenblatt's remarks, the conference broke into concurrent panel discussions covering topics such as entrepreneurship in the realms of entertainment and advertising, women in entrepreneurship, and methods for funding startups.

A second round of morning panel discussions followed, focusing on entrepreneurship in sports, marketing, and entrepreneurship in clean technology. Also during this time, the conference held the preliminary round of a Fast Pitch Competition where aspiring entrepreneurs presented business ideas to a judging panel, composed of investors and established entrepreneurs.

After a networking lunch, the conference broke into the third and final round of panel discussions. Discussions centered on the various obstacles that face entrepreneurs, as well as on entrepreneurship in healthcare, journalism, and the wine and spirits industry.

Following the final round of the Fast Pitch Competition, the conference's closing keynote address was given by Greg Waldorf, the CEO of eHarmony, who gave the audience a behind-the-scenes look at how the site was developed. In keeping with the theme of the conference, Waldorf focused on some of the unconventional approaches taken by eHarmony over the years, such as marketing an online dating site to women, and having users complete a long and meticulous questionnaire.

Waldorf also spoke about the gratification that comes with running a business that has a significant social impact, and made sure to leave audience members with advice as well. "The way to know if you've made the right career choice is if you can't imagine doing anything else," he said.

"With over 400 people in attendance, this was a record breaking year for UCLA Anderson's EA Conference," said Angela Klein, program manager for the Price Center. "The students organizing it did a truly remarkable job recruiting two fantastic keynote speakers and creating relevant content for all of the panels."

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the leading business schools in the world. UCLA Anderson faculty members are renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,700 students enrolled in MBA, Executive MBA, Fully-Employed MBA and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs. Combining highly selective admissions, varied and innovative learning programs, and a world-wide network of 36,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson develops and prepares global leaders.

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