Two UW-Whitewater students visit the White House

Two UW-Whitewater student entrepreneurs experienced last week a chance-of-a-lifetime invitation-only event at the White House.

Junior Andrew Hoeft, left, and freshman Daniel Fink, right, were invited to a private entrepreneurial event at the White House last week.

The event, which was sponsored by the national chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Council, invited only about 100 student entrepreneurs nationwide, with freshman Daniel Fink and junior Andrew Hoeft as the only two from Wisconsin.

Fink and Hoeft were chosen to represent UW-Whitewater’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization at the “I am an Entrepreneur” event.

“I was pretty excited,” Fink said. “I’m a humble guy so I was like ‘Wow, this is awesome.’ I only told a couple of my family members I was going because I love to surprise people.”

Hoeft

Fink, 19, is a marketing major who started his own business as a junior at Ashwaubenon High School. MacBros was started by Fink and a few of his friends when they realized many people could benefit from it. The company fixes and sells Mac computers and parts.

“It was pretty cool when Dr. Dougan called and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to the White House on Monday with Dan,’” Hoeft said. “He called us on Wednesday, so we only had a few days to really prepare for it.”

Hoeft said he knew Dougan, the mentor of UW-Whitewater’s CEO, had sent in an application re-questing Fink and himself for the event, but he was still surprised when he received the phone call because of the other 200 or so CEO chapters across the nation.

Hoeft, 19, is majoring in finance and marketing. He recently switched to part-time at UW-W so he could focus more on his business. Hoeft is founder of PinPoint Software Inc., a company that created an expiration date management software for grocery stores, called Date Check Pro.

Fink

Hoeft said the program alerts grocery store workers when a certain product is nearing expiration, saving both the workers and customers time and inconvenience.

The event held a panel discussion by six of the successful entrepreneurs of YEC.

MTV’s Sway Calloway, who started his own record label as just one of his entrepreneurial successes, led the discussion by asking each member questions.

Fink said the Obama Administration is “really trying to help the economy and they sense that entrepreneurs are the way to do that.”

The council members offered financial advice, investor advice and marketing advice to the young entrepreneurs.

“They were there for us,” Fink said. “They shared their hurdles with us and helped us find ways to avoid those same hurdles or how to overcome them.”

Later, the YEC split up into three groups for student entrepreneurs to ask more personalized questions.

“I got to meet a bunch of the YEC members,” Hoeft said. “I got to add a lot of people to my network, which will only help me in my business.”

Hoeft was later asked to join the YEC, an invite-only community of the world’s top, young entrepreneurs.

Hoeft said most of the universities there were local, such as Georgetown University and George Washington University. Hoeft said it was an honor to attend because not only were Fink and him the only two from Wisconsin, but some of the only select few who were from out of the area at all.

The two also visited the capital building and Sen. Herb Kohl’s office while there, but Kohl was still on vacation, Fink said.

Fink said the number one reason to become an entrepreneur is to become your own boss. He said there is a freedom in it that helps him succeed.

The next step in Fink’s MacBros business is creating an app for education and small businesses. He hopes to incorporate the ways of new technology into the classroom in a future project, but the full details have not yet been laid out.

“What I recommend for students is that if you have an idea that you’re really passionate about and that you love, don’t wait. Just do it,” Fink said. “That’s one of the things that I wish I would have done earlier on in high school because I had some great ideas for organizations that I wanted to start.”

Fink said on multiple occasions he tried to give advice to previous employers, but they never took it because “I’m down here and they’re up there.”

Hoeft agreed with Fink in that students should never let an idea just sit.

“Don’t be scared to share your ideas with people,” Hoeft said. “You can figure out the  best way to start your company by talking to the right people.”

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