MILWAUKEE – Robert Stephens, who launched “The Geek Squad” in 1994 with $200, a peculiar but identifiable brand and a commitment to service, will help set the tone during the June 9-10, 2009 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee.
“Innovation through Starvation: The Geek Squad Story” is the title of Stephens’ speech to the seventh annual conference, which is designed to help entrepreneurs navigate the challenges of launching and growing companies.
To see the full conference agenda and to register, visit: http://www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/events/ent_conf/.
Stephens will speak 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 10 at the Hyatt Regency, 333 W. Kilbourn. He’ll describe how “The Geek Squad” took the boring world of computer support and turned it into a global service with “precincts” in the United States, Canada, China, Spain and the United Kingdom, and “agents” who are identified through their white, short-sleeve shirts and black clip-on ties.
A native of Chicago, Stephens left a scholarship at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1990 to pursue a degree in computer science at the University of Minnesota. While attending the university, he landed a job fixing computers for the Human Factors Research Laboratory and started a computer consulting business. In April 1994, after three years at the university, he formed The Geek Squad with a $200 investment.
In 2002, The Geek Squad partnered with Best Buy and opened Geek Squad precincts in all Best Buy stores. With more than 17,000 agents, the Geek Squad is now North America’s largest technology support company offering phone, in-store, and in-home support. Stephens is a vice president of Best Buy.
The Entrepreneurs’ Conference is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council, the independent, non-profit science and technology advisers to the Governor and the Legislature. It serves as a catalyst for the growth of Wisconsin’s tech-based and entrepreneurial economy.
“The story of The Geek Squad demonstrates that the right idea and the right brand can take a company from start-up to global,” Tech Council President Tom Still said. “Entrepreneurs can learn a great deal from Robert Stephens, especially when it comes to succeeding on a shoestring budget.”
Other conference highlights include:
- Workshops built around the themes of Refining the Dream, Building the Team and Making the Green;
- Presentations by the top 12 finalists in the sixth annual Governor’s Business Plan Contest;
- The sixth annual Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” award, which goes to an entrepreneur whose perseverance helps to inspire others;
- Exclusive forums for investors in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest;
- “Entrepreneurs’ Edge” pitches to investors and peers;
- Hands-on panel discussions.
Other speakers and panelists will be announced in the weeks leading up to the conference.
Register or learn more by visiting www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/events/ent_conf