The INNOV8 festival has been going strong all week with a series of lectures and special workshops. Thursday, business leaders from all over Acadiana packed the Hilton to hear from a special guest, who knows how to run a billion-dollar business.
"I think the business people here are going to have a lot of nice take-aways," said Tom Cox, President and CEO of the e-commerce site, Golfballs.com.
Even with a space full of some of Lafayette's most successful, there was still plenty of room for learning. And everyone was all ears for special guest speaker Morris Miller, who runs and invests in several multi-billion dollar businesses. Cox says Miller is an inspiration.
"It's really neat to have someone like Morris come to Lafayette to do a presentation," said Cox. "He's an investor, entrepreneur, a CEO, and he's a lawyer, too."
Miller went through the beginning of his career, selling pecans, to his latest venture, Xenex Disinfecting Systems, which uses UV-technology to sanitize hospital rooms. He says his first entrepreneurial idea was shot down 167 times until he received that fateful "yes."
"As entrepreneurs, I just want to say you're not stuck in whatever you do," said Miller.
Gregg Gothreaux, the head of Lafayette Economic Development Authority, says the INNOV8 lecture series are opening doors for creative thinkers. And Miller, in particular, represents exactly what Acadiana has to offer.
"We're celebrating the wild cat mentality that's made our community famous—the entrepreneurial spirit—the innovators, the people that have created this community one business at a time," said Gothreaux.
And Cox, who is one of those innovators, says Thursday's presentation re-iterated to the business-savvy an important lesson.
"Anybody can succeed with the right approach and diligence," said Cox.