UW-Eau Claire’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization chapter

Organization aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship in students

Maddie Kasper

More stories from Maddie Kasper


Blugold Roast, a business run by students and alumni of UW-Eau Claire’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization chapter.


The local chapter of Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization is one of UW-Eau Claire’s many student organizations and the only group on campus that gives students the opportunity to become entrepreneurs and gain real-world business experience, according to Blugold Connect.

According to Ann Rupnow, faculty advisor and entrepreneur program manager, the CEO is a student organization aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship in students.

Dan Beck, owner of Midwest Meals, helped restart the CEO-UWEC chapter when he was a student in the entrepreneur program, according to Rupnow.

Ruprow said CEO is not just for students in the entrepreneur program and recognized that entrepreneurs come from many different disciplines.

“I enjoy meeting and interacting with entrepreneurial-minded students on campus whatever their specific academic area of focus is, and CEO affords me that opportunity,” Rupnow said.

According to Noah Olson, first-year operations and supply chain student and vice president of community development, many students involved in CEO-UWEC have started their own businesses.

“Having already started a business, I like to offer my support to any of our members who are just starting out,” Olson said, “It’s my belief that through CEO, we can build a strong community of entrepreneurs.”

Blugold Roast, a sustainable coffee blend business run by students and alumni of CEO-UWEC, is the chapter’s most successful project according to Olson.

Andee Erickson of The Spectator reported on Blugold Roast when the business launched in September 2016. Olson said the business is still operating as of March 2022.

According to CEO-UWEC’s Facebook page, Eau Claire-opoly was released in April 2019. This monopoly-esque game was created to celebrate the city of Eau Claire while giving students entrepreneurial experience and fundraising for CEO, according to the page.

Eau Claire-opoly was limited in production and only 460 copies of the board game were made, according to the organization’s online marketplace.

In 2019, CEO-UWEC held its first entrepreneur fest. According to the organization’s Facebook page, the fest hosted guest speakers, provided a space for networking and showcased work by student artists and entrepreneurs.

Swim with the Sharks was an event hosted on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 by CEO-UWEC, modeled after ABC’s “Shark Tank,” according to the College of Business. Students presented their business ideas to a panel of expert judges and received advice and feedback on their pitches.

According to Rupnow, the CEO-UWEC chapter is working on an upcoming project that has not been announced yet. Olson said the organization is looking to create a new product this semester.

“CEO is typically not one of the larger student groups, so there are great opportunities for participants to help shape the direction of the club,” Rupnow said.

Students interested in entrepreneurship and working on the chapter’s project should contact Rupnow at [email protected].

We are always looking for more members! Running a business is tough, and those who plan to need support, that’s where we help through community involvement, collaboration and a fun and friendly atmosphere,” Olson said.

More information about the organization as a whole can be found on the CEO headquarters website and information about UWEC’s chapter can be found on Blugold Connect.

Kasper can be reached at [email protected]