ATPE has a rich history of passionate students trying to empower others to go out and effect change in the community. It all started with 6 people; Luke Barbara, Ben VanBuskirk, Jackie Davis, Vandana Rajakumar, Samuel Mattey, and James Balch. Most of them were involved with Net Impact, which is an organization that focuses on sustainability and building leaders in the professional world. At the time Net Impact was a unique organization, as it was comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students. While the idea of APTE originated within Net Impact, the Business Builders Club was soon after brought into the mix. Luke and a growing number of BBCers were passionate about social entrepreneurship so it made for the perfect mix of organizers for the pilot year. That was the beginning of what has become a strong history of collaboration and symbolic relationship between Net Impact and BBC that still continues to this day.
James started thinking about the event when he met an executive from General Mills at an event earlier that year that dealt with food, poverty, and entrepreneurship. He wanted to host an event and have him come speak at it, but the timing never worked out. James then enlisted Luke, Sharon, and Samuel to help develop an event that showed how people could take action to reduce poverty. While their first event only created a turnout of 150 people, it fueled their fire to create an even bigger and better event. Thus, the idea of APTE was evolving into something great.
The second year was proof that the event would last, and would have a great affect on the community. The event continued to grow due to the hard work of the organizers as well as the mentorship of many talented individuals. One in particular was Richard Crabtree. He played a significant role in inspiring students, including James, to follow their passion and help inspire others to be passionate about entrepreneurship as a way to end poverty. Unfortunately Richard passed away that year in a car accident, but he left us with some words of advice:
"Just because you’re young does not mean you can not do great things. Heck, I was 26 and looked like a kid when I started my first business."
This quote sums the mission of APTE. Young leaders can do great things in this world and age should not limit you from being bold and going for it.
In 2010, James, Luke, and David Tarai took the reigns of APTE. In addition, folks like Bill Babeaux, Suzy Bureau, and Kyle Girardi were also key players and then stepped up even more in 2011. Each organizer brought their own twist on the summit and helped turn it into the event that it has become today. What started as a mission to gather a couple CEOs to speak at an event, turned into a day long summit that flies speakers from across the world to Columbus to speak about their initiatives and goals for the future and their dual interests in entrepreneurship and poverty.
While the event is ever changing and is constantly bringing in new components, the constant is that it serves as many of the organizers proudest accomplishments. The organizing students always dream big and bring together action. Each year there is a mentorship that happens and the torch is passed onto new leaders for the years to come.
New innovations are happening to the summit each year including a Business Plan Competition that was added last year, as well as a social enterprise design studio, which was formed this year. As the summit continues to grow and reach thousands of people each year in multiple countries, the dream and goal has always remained the same. To inspire others, and create a new way of thinking to eliminate poverty for good.