Center for Business Ingenuity
The Small Business Development Center at Gannon University is used to assisting small business owners every day. But, the entrepreneur who they knew to be ‘Glenn Bryant’ turned out to be no ordinary client.
In the Discovery channel’s eight-part series, “Undercover Billionaire,” premiering August 6, viewers will see Gannon’s SBDC learn the true identity of ‘Glenn Bryant’ when he reveals himself as Glenn Stearns, owner of mortgage company Stearns Lending, LLC.
In the show, Stearns has 90 days to build a million-dollar business with only $100 in his pocket, and if his company does not meet the challenge of being valued at $1 million, he will put that amount of his own money into the business.
SBDC got involved after producers contacted Gannon searching for resources available in the community that help entrepreneurs explained Maggie Horne, director of SBDC at Gannon. From there, SBDC helped the ‘Undercover Billionaire’ as he pursued his hidden challenge.
“Glenn is a really great guy, and it was great working with him while he was here,” said Horne. “He has a lot of passion and he was going to do this no matter what it took.”
The SBDC, along with student employees in Gannon’s node of the Northwest Pennsylvania Innovation Beehive Network, worked one-on-one with Stearns to provide insight into the business landscape of the Erie region as well as introduce him to various resources and contacts throughout the community.
“We helped with understanding the industry and the environment in Erie to identify what was needed and would be accepted within the community. We researched and talked about the kinds of businesses that would make an impact, create jobs, and really help in the small business focus and movement here in Erie,” Horne said.
As the show unfolds, viewers will see what Stearn’s business is and how he arrived at that concept. They will also be introduced to the mentors, local small business owners and consultants he collaborated with to make it happen in just 90 days – including Rich Hauser, Ph.D., associate professor of finance and economics in Gannon’s Dahlkemper School of Business.
Hauser was recruited by Horne as the expert to estimate the value of the business – the premise of the show that determines if Stearns meets the challenge of building a $1 million business in Erie.
“After talking to Glenn for just a few minutes, I was not surprised he was actually a very wealthy, successful entrepreneur. He had every appearance of someone who knew what they were doing and had done it many times before,” said Hauser.
“He is very interesting, which should make for great TV – and I really enjoyed talking about business [strategy and valuation] with him,” he said.
Undercover Billionaire airs Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 10 p.m. on the Discovery channel.