Leesburg-based Ara Bagdasarian, the Chief Executive Officer of Omnilert, testified for America's Small Business Development Centers to Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversights, and Regulations on April 12. He said that for small businesses, opportunities to innovate on a local and national scale are now much better compared to the past. This positive outlook is true globally. Bagdasarian has also co-authored a book, “The Lemonade Stand”.
The CEO pointed out to the Congressional committee of his own business history as a serial entrepreneur. He claimed to have formed his first enterprise before he turned 10 years old. He said that he does not hold this positive opinion as he is an optimist. He pointed out that this is the first time in human history when a wealth of technologies and resources are easily available to any person who has a will and an idea to do something.
Bagdasarian admitted that although he was a successful businessman, he was stumped when he was asked why Leesburg was an excellent place to be for entrepreneurs. At that time, he was the chairperson of the Leesburg Economic Development Commission. The question arose when he was requested to participate in the marketing campaign mounted by the town. He admitted that he could not find out a single point to prove why he praised Leesburg. The only reason he could think of was that the town has an idyllic and quaint community. It has all the small business resources which were a standard- SBDC and SCORE among them other than a Chamber of Commerce. The only big gap was the absence of a community which supported local entrepreneurs.
For Bagdasarian, this absence gave him an impetus in life. He started an effort to build the infrastructure required to construct the much-needed “entrepreneurship ecosystem”. He cited a few examples, like of Loudoun County. The county offered lots of entrepreneurship education opportunities and provided the much-needed resources to support the plan, create, and then launch a new venture. The operational work was also looked after. There were programs which connected with the community members. These efforts led to the discovery of synergies.
The serial entrepreneur even mentioned a number of successes, like the Loudoun Youth organized Step Up Loudoun Competition and Young Entrepreneurs Academy by Chambers'. Bagdasarian, however, added a note of caution-what could be successful in Leesburg may not be so somewhere else.