It wasn’t all that long ago that Buddytruk CEO and Co-Founder Brian Foley was a wide-eyed business administration major roaming the lofty halls of Pepperdine University in beautiful Malibu, California. He spent much of his time surfing (still does), studying up on all the business books and blogs (definitely still does), and exploring the go-to spots of Los Angeles (like most Angeleno college students with too much time on their hands). While at Pepperdine, Foley found that he didn’t quite have the “student” mentality that most, uh, students have – which is quite clear if you spend enough time with him at the Buddytruk offices in Santa Monica, California. His devotion to starting a business and go-for-it attitude made him feel alone at times – until he found the Pepperdine Entrepreneur Club.
“It was funny, I spent most of my college career thinking I was an outsider for having my own business and devoting more of my time to developing my business than I was to school,” said Foley. “It turned out there was a club of people just like me. The [Pepperdine Entrepreneur Club] connected me with some of the most intellectual and passionate people I’ve ever met.” President of the Pepperdine Entrepreneur Club, Carla Romero, a senior studying international business, has developed a student club that helps students from any background turn their business ideas into reality. The club hosts two main events: a weekly guest speaker series and the Alpha Project: Business Competition, a business pitch competition. Furthermore, all students of the club must sign a non-disclosure agreement which lets members share their ideas freely. “Pepperdine does not have a curriculum for entrepreneurship, but, then again, entrepreneurship cannot be taught,” said Romero. “This is the only place [at Pepperdine] that students have to share their ideas in a safe place with people who are there to help and influence them. The club is very inspiring not only to me but to the alumni who want to see Pepperdine grow.” As part of the alumni guest speaker program for the Entrepreneur Club, Foley and the rest of the Buddytruk team spoke with the club recently to share their insights on building a company, like Buddytruk, from the ground up. “It’s a lot of fun, and really a privilege, to speak with all the members of the Entrepreneur Club,” said Foley. “The club really helped me develop the right business attitude and grow my ideas, and I just want to be able to give back to the club that taught me so much. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support I received from the Entrepreneur Club.”
Although Foley had several business ventures while studying at Pepperdine, it wasn’t until he joined the club that he began to brainstorm with other like-minded students, connect with successful entrepreneurs from around the country, learn from market leaders, and hone in on his entrepreneurial skills. “I learned to keep coming back, stay connected, and learn to listen before you speak,” said Foley. “Not only was Rome not built in a day, it wasn’t built by one person either. This club is full of people who believe in you and your ideas, and want to help you any way they can.” It’s hard to say if Buddytruk would have grown without the guidance of the Pepperdine Entrepreneur Club, Faculty Advisor Ben Postlethwaite, and students like Romero, or Club Vice President Arpa Shahijanian. What’s clear is that the Entrepreneur Club is highly successful when it comes to growing entrepreneurial mindsets for young professionals. “Brian and I were in the Entrepreneur Club as regular members and had a great time,” said Romero. “Brian is definitely a success story, but most of the success we see is when students first enter the club with no idea and no clue of why they are even there, but then a year after joining they are pitching their ideas and they begin to work with a mentor. It takes time to see any real success – students are scared, but we help break down barriers so that members are confident in themselves and their ideas.” To find out more about the Pepperdine Entrepreneur Club, make sure to check them out on campus at Pepperdine or on Facebook.