Go-Kart Track Owner speaks at CIG event

While flying around the tight turns of the racetrack, white knuckles gripping the wheel of a go-kart, with their adrenaline pumping, a competitor’s main goal is to be the first to cross the finish line.

The racetrack was not an unfamiliar environment while growing up to Brad Copley, the president and owner of Boss Pro-Karting. Copley and his cousin were able to be the first ones to cross the finish line for the indoor go-karting market in Cleveland. 

On Nov. 14, Copley delivered a CIGtalk, organized by the Center for Innovation and Growth (CIG) at Baldwin Wallace, discussing his entrepreneurial path to becoming the owner and president of the first indoor go-karting facility in Cleveland.

Hannah Schlueter, the LaunchNET program manager for the CIG, was there firsthand to experience the impact of Copley’s lecture.

Schlueter said that Copley described, in depth, the struggle he had to go through from being laid off from a stable career to opening his business.

Copley’s primary point of discussion, Schlueter said, was on how a small tweak in mindset can open infinite doors of entrepreneurial possibility.

“His lecture conveyed that instead of focusing on the ‘or’, to try to convert that ‘or’ into an ‘and’, and find ways to make things happen together rather than choosing one over the other,” Schlueter said. Upon leaving the lecture, Schlueter said one main idea really stuck out to her as a faculty member of the CIG.

“Lectures like these show the students that you don’t have to choose between one thing or the other, it’s making your life work for you to be more fulfilled professionally and personally… And that you can join things that you love, and make it a career.”

Schlueter said having the opportunity to experience lectures like Copley’s is an ideal example of what the CIG is trying to promote campus wide.

“Brad’s story is just one example of how he was able to take a tough situation and turn it into an opportunity,” Schlueter said, “and was able to make entrepreneurship a viable career option, and that’s what [the CIG] wants people to understand.”

Being able to bring close knit examples of entrepreneurial success to BW students—seeing that Copley and his cousin are both BW alumni, according to Schlueter—is an important aspect of what the CIG is about, said Lacey Kogelnik, the director of the CIG.

“We get to have this conversation about how to turn passion into opportunity, and that’s the point, to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Kogelnik.

Schlueter believes that unique opportunities to experience a successful entrepreneur’s  story like Copley’s can be a way of normalizing entrepreneurship, and make it more obtainable for students of any major. 

“[The CIG] is trying to infuse innovation and entrepreneurship across campus,” said Schlueter.

Being able to attend CIGtalks like Copley’s is one of many opportunities from the CIG that Shannon Fee, the growth practice manager for the CIG, believes to be incredibly important to anyone remotely interested in entrepreneurship.

“This is a valuable experience for students of any major,” Fee said, “[students] just need to be curious and one of the things [the CIG] tries to promote in everything we do is just sort of engage that curiosity to reach beyond comfort zones and try out something different.”

More opportunities to investigate entrepreneurial curiosities with the CIG are scheduled to take place next semester, check out the BW website for more details.