Our goal is to focus on how the owners are building their extraordinary companies, making a significant difference in their towns and exemplifying critical keys to success venturing. —Michael Glauser
SALT LAKE CITY — A team of entrepreneurs, led by two Utahns, is heading out on the cross-country bicycle trip of lifetime to tell the story of small-business owners all along Main Street USA.
Michael Glauser, executive director of the Clark Center for Entrepreneurism at Utah State University, along with fellow faculty member Shawn Sadowski, videographer Jay Glauser and researcher Mary Curtis-Glauser are preparing to make a transcontinental tour to interview and film more than 100 people who operate successful businesses in 100 towns.
Michael Glauser said the goal of the project is to gather information to write a book and produce a documentary film series called “Living the Dream on Main Street America: A 4,000-Mile Journey to Find Our Best Small-Town Entrepreneurs.”
He said the reason for the project is to address the nationwide issue of the shrinking number of jobs in America.
"(Studies) show that in every industry, technology is accelerating and it's eliminating the need for humans to do work, so we're seeing a huge erosion of middle-class jobs in America," Michael Glauser said. "(Jobs) have shrunk by about 35 percent in the last two decades."
He noted that manufacturing jobs have also dwindled by 50 percent over the past 20 years, leaving many to figure out an alternative to working for corporate America. That change prompted Michael Glauser and Sadowski to co-found My New Enterprise, a Utah-based consulting firm that provides resources to help aspiring entrepreneurs and business builders create successful ventures.
"We think the future is that people need to figure out how to create their own jobs and their own companies and figure out a way to generate a livelihood and generate revenue," Michael Glauser said.
There are thousands of entrepreneurs living in small cities across the U.S. who have started their own businesses and created their own jobs, he said.
"We are going to take an extremely close-up look at some of our most successful business owners in small-town America," Michael Glauser said.
The plan, he said, is to meet people and interview those who have built prospering enterprises in their locales, to learn about how they did so and how they operate.
Much of the funding for the eight-week tour will come from crowd funding platform Kickstarter. There are also various sponsorships that will offset some of the expenses.
The route the team will travel is along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, beginning on June 2 in Florence, Oregon, and going through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and eventually culminating on July 23 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The team will travel about 85 miles per day, with a few scheduled rest days planned along the way.
"We will have two people biking at all times and two people in the tour bus," Michael Glauser explained, adding that he hopes to ride the entire way, with no time behind the wheel of the support vehicle.
He said launching such a ambitious project has been a labor of love for himself and his partners and one they believe will help many would-be entrepreneurs realize the possibilities if they're willing to try.
"Our goal is to focus on how the owners are building their extraordinary companies, making a significant difference in their towns and exemplifying critical keys to success venturing," Michael Glauser said.
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