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UI Student Is Finalist for Global Student Entrepreneur Award

A University of Iowa business student is a finalist for an international entrepreneurial award presented to college students who start and operate their own businesses as students.

Brad Phillips, a senior in the Tippie College of Business and an Iowa City native, is one of 10 finalists for the Global Student Entrepreneur Award for his business, Premis Industries. The award, presented by Mercedes Benz Financial, recognizes undergraduate entrepreneurs around the world. The award will be presented during ceremonies in Chicago on Nov. 3.

Premis Industries, which Phillips started in 2003, produces and sells videos of the ATV motocross racing circuit. He said the video series, called Carpe Diem, combines highlights from races around the country with behind-the-scenes profiles of some of the circuit's top racers. The first two videos in the Carpe Diem series sold about 14,000 copies and the third will be released Nov. 1. He also has agreements to show the second and third videos on the Extreme Sports Channel, which is seen throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

In addition, Phillips has produced a documentary, "Beating The Odds," about an ATV racer who has no corporate sponsorships and is trying to succeed as an independent rider. "Beating the Odds" will also be televised on the Extreme Sports Channel and then sold as a video, he said.

A former ATV racer himself, Phillips knew there was a market for a video series and he suggested the idea in a class he was taking about entrepreneurship in the Tippie College of Business. Encouraged to keep thinking about the new business idea, Phillips secured financing from family and friends and Premis Industries was born, with office space in the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory, a student start-up business incubator managed by the UI's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC).

"I received a lot of guidance and expertise from the JPEC staff and faculty and that helped me get the business off the ground successfully," he said, adding that while the company still has debt, he said it is breaking even financially and expects it to be profitable soon.

Phillips works with freelance videographers and editors to provide the technical expertise of producing the videos, and has friends to help him with the videography in exchange for free trips to racetracks across North America. Phillips said that while ATV racing is still only a small niche sport in the United States, it has a significant fan base in Canada and Europe. He said he hopes his videos will help the sport grow in the United States and increase his market here. He said a recent trip to shoot a race near Montreal showed him how popular the sport is in Canada, and how many fans have bought his videos.

"We were treated like royalty there, and we saw fans giving copies of our videos to the racers to autograph," he said.

The winner of the GSEA will receive a $10,000 grand prize and also contribute to a book about entrepreneurialism. Awards in Creative/Innovative and Social Impact categories will also be presented. The judges are a panel of global entrepreneurs.

The GSEA is overseen by the Entrepreneurs' Organization, an organization dedicated to encouraging, educating and assisting entrepreneurs around the world.


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