Christopher Head, a senior management and entrepreneurial studies major at Xavier University in Cincinnati has received an award from British Airways in its “Face of Opportunity Contest.” He is the founder of Head’s Up! Inflatables, LLC, an entertainment company he started to help fund his education. His award includes free travel to New York, London, and Shanghai to visit U.S., British and Chinese venture capital firms in Spring 2011.
The “Face of Opportunity Contest” provides small businesses with the chance to grow their company internationally by making the right in-person connections. Entrants wrote an essay or created a video that addressed: "If you could travel to any city outside the United States to grow your business, where would you go and how would the trip help meet your business objectives?"
During the first round of public voting - September 8-November 19 - votes were cast for the entry most deserving a face-to-face meeting. Head’s essay was selected as a finalist. He receives airfare to anywhere British Airways flies to conduct meetings in-person, an invitation to an international networking event with venture capitalists, media, and business experts in New York, a flight to meet prospective customers and fellow small business owners in London, and access to educational seminars, expert panels and Q&A sessions with business leaders and industry experts.
“Chris is one of Xavier’s outstanding Entrepreneurship students with vision, passion, and action,” says Daewoo Park, chair and professor of entrepreneurship at Xavier. “This award will arm him with more global entrepreneurship competence.”
Heads Up! Inflatables focuses on the rental of inflatable bounce houses and water slides and event planning for schools and communities. Head wrote about his desire to travel to Shanghai to visit Chinee Inflatables, one of the largest manufacturers of inflatable amusements. He believes a face-to-face meeting will enable him to purchase larger quantities of inventory and diversify his offerings to include customized inflatables.
“If I were to offer a business tip to someone,” said Head, “it would be to never give up on your dreams. I was able to start my first company as a high school senior. This has not only allowed me to be able to finance my education, but it has also opened many doors for me as well. If I had listened to those who told me I wouldn’t succeed, I would not be where I am today.”