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Entrepreneurs share successes and failures with students

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As part of a national "Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour," the students of Central Texas College got firsthand accounts of people who've made their dreams of running their own businesses a reality.

He may not be a professor, but he has a thing or two to teach students about pursuing their dreams.

On Wednesday, Eric Fortenberry stood before a group of Central Texas College students to do just that.

"Quitting a $125,000 job nine months out of college was definitely one of the biggest challenges in my career," he said.

Despite the discouragement he received from his former employer, the University of Texas at Austin graduate decided to go at it on his own.

Now three years later, the 26 year-old is the CEO and co-founder of OrgSync.

"My gut was telling me that this was the right opportunity so I had to go for it," he said.

The company specializes in creating an online communication system for colleges and universities from across the country.

Today, Fortenberry said they have 18 full-time employees and more than 100 clients.

However Fortenberry was not alone in sharing his story of success.

Michael Simmons, co-founder of the tour, is an entrepreneur himself.

According to his biography, he started his first web-development business when he was just 16-years-old.

He said the purpose of this workshop is to inspire other potential business owners into action.

"We designed this tour to be a compliment to what happens in the classroom," Simmons said. "So that when they go back to the class, they can see how it relates to what they're doing."

Listening to stories like theirs is what Student for Free Enterprise President William Smith gained the most from.

"What really got to me was actually seeing what they have done, where they've been, how they got started and where they are now," Smith said.

Among the other entrepreneurs, business owners from Killeen also shared their stories of successes and failures along the way.

"Their passion came through in their speeches. So, it felt like they were here to help me personally," student Tanida Mullen said.

Although the panelists emphasized the importance of a dream and a vision, they said persistence and patience are just as important in ensuring success.

"Anything is possible if you commit yourself to taking your vision and making it a reality," he said.

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