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Entrepreneurship student helps bring CNBC’s “The Profit” star to campus

March 23, 2017

Marcus Lemonis, entrepreneur and reality TV star
Marcus Lemonis

Marcus Lemonis, the entrepreneur and star of cable television reality show “The Profit,” is making good on a challenge he accepted when Virginia Tech’s football team played in the Camping World Independence Bowl in 2015.

Lemonis — in response to a social media campaign run by marketing sophomore Miya Grimaldi, of Toms River, New Jersey — agreed to visit Blacksburg if the Hokies won the bowl game against Tulsa. They did.

Lemonis, who is also chairman and CEO of Camping World, will speak on April 7 from 7-9 p.m., at Davidson Hall, room 281. The event, which is free and open to the public, is coordinated by the Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

All attendees must register and have a ticket for the event. Tickets can be found here.

"We are so excited to host Marcus at Virginia Tech,” said Derick Maggard, Apex CIE executive director. “He is a solid example of the power of entrepreneurship and its impact on economic development. He has built his brand as a strategic investor and business partner to many companies, both large and small, across the country and around the world."

Lemonis, who has been billed the “business turnaround king,” offers his entrepreneurial expertise to struggling and failing businesses in all types of industries. His mantra is the “people-process-product-principle,” also known as the 3 P’s.

According to his website, Lemonis “analyzes every business by the quality (of its) people, whether they have an excellent and relevant product, and the best possible process for creating, delivering, and selling that product.”

In three seasons of the reality TV show, Lemonis has personally invested more than $35 million to help small businesses featured on the show.

Grimaldi, who has been a fan of Lemonis since she first saw “The Profit,” is a resident of Virginia Tech’s Innovate Living Learning Community. She saw an opportunity in the Camping World bowl game and took a leap.

“I want to do this. I want to make things happen,” Grimaldi recalls.

She made it happen by using Tilt, a crowdfunding platform, to raise more than $1,000 in one week to cover Lemonis’s travel expenses. Grimaldi also used Facebook and said she attracted some 200 followers to support her cause.

The campaign “helped me realize what I do have the talent for and what I can do in the future,” Grimaldi said.

"Our students are inspired and empowered to explore new opportunities, whether it's a new business, an innovative product, or inviting top-tier speakers,” Maggard said. “We are excited to see the hard work of our student campaign to bring Marcus to Virginia Tech come to fruition."

Find parking information for the event online, or call 540-231-3200.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Brittany Lester at 540-231-1328 or email bmlester@vt.edu during regular business hours at least five business days prior to the event.

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