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"Undercover Billionaire" Returns to Gannon to Share Entrepreneurial Experiences

"Undercover Billionaire" Glenn Stearns with his wife, Mindy.

The Discovery Channel’s “Undercover Billionaire” Glenn Stearns returned to Gannon University’s Small Business Development Center to share a keynote speech and participate in a following Q&A session today, Nov. 2019.

Stearns was joined by his wife, Mindy, as he shared how he overcame challenges to build a billion-dollar company and his experiences starting a new business in Erie with aid from Gannon’s entrepreneurial resources, as featured on the show.

In the show, Stearns has 90 days to build a million-dollar business with only $100 in his pocket. The business, Underdog BBQ, fell just shy of the million-dollar value but was evaluated as having the potential to quickly reach that number. Stearns revealed at the conclusion of the show that he was investing $50,000 to establish the Underdog Entrepreneurial Foundation.

During the presentation, Stearns shared with attendees some of the difficulties he faced in his journey to becoming a successful businessman. These included an upbringing in a low-income family and neighborhood, difficulties to sustaining a successful business, and bouts with cancer that now require him to use a feeding tube.

“When you take on a task and realize it’s a lot harder than (you) thought… we look out the window and see if something else might be easier. But I was proud of pulling through,” Stearns said.

Stearns used his time with attendees to encourage them to pursue their own goals and overcome any adversities.

“Your plan never goes the way you plan it. When it gets hard, understand it is going to get harder. The difference between the ones who make it and the ones who don’t is that they don’t give up,” Stearns said when asked what his key piece of advice might be.  

Gannon University Vice President of Academic Affairs Walter Iwanenko expressed his gratitude to the Stearns for their commitment to Erie through the Underdog BBQ and Underdog Entrepreneurial Foundation and for inspiring the next generation of leaders in the community.

“We are honored to have Glenn and Mindy here today to share not only their experience, but also their expertise with the aspiring entrepreneurs and young professionals studying here at Gannon,” Iwanenko said.  

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