Peter J. Burns III is a serial start-up entrepreneur, who has a keen eye for creating innovative businesses and partnerships.
Peter J. Burns III is a serial start-up entrepreneur, who has demonstrated time and time again that he has a keen eye for creating innovative businesses and partnerships. Some of that talent undoubtedly came from his experience in the military and a Harvard education, but Burns suggests that the most important ingredient may have been the businesses that didn’t make it, from which he learned.—
Burns, who resides in La Jolla, California, grew up in a well-established New England family in New Canaan, Connecticut. He was briefly educated at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School at West Point, the University of Virginia (UVa), and finally the Harvard Business School's Owners and Presidents Management Program. While his two younger brothers went on to have successful business careers, Burns chose the life of an entrepreneur.
Burns adds that his "official" career as an entrepreneur started as a result of his enrollment in an Entrepreneurship course at UVa's venerable McIntire School of Commerce. His business plan for that course was importing mopeds (motorized bikes) to the US from Europe and renting them to tourists at US resorts. “I executed my business plan on Nantucket after my class was over, made a small fortune and never looked back,” said Burns.
Burns started hundreds of businesses over the next two decades. During that time, he never really had a real job, according to family and friends. Then he landed Arizona in the early 2000s and all that changed. With a family to raise, Burns settled down, sort of, and became a pro bono adjunct faculty member at the highly respected Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. But even then, Burns bristled at the indignity of having to tow the line at an institution, especially in Academia. So in 2006, he took his teaching practice across town to Grand Canyon University and its entrepreneur-like founder Brent Richardson, where the two men would launch the nation’s first College of Entrepreneurship at Grand Canyon University.
“The spark behind the college was ignited only a month ago by Peter Burns, a self-made millionaire who is teaching entrepreneur education classes at Arizona State University's Barrett Honors College,” according to the Phoenix Business Journal. “Burns met with GCU Chief Executive Brent Richardson after, Burns says, ASU and its business school weren't interested in forming a program specifically targeting entrepreneurs.”
Those were heady days for Burns, who in 2007 was named by the Arizona chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America its Businessperson of the Year. “Peter founded the Institute for Entrepreneurship and then licensed the country’s first College of Entrepreneurship at Grand Canyon University,” noted the Director for the Arizona chapter of the FBLA. After a few years, however, Burns decided that he wanted to take the Institute for Entrepreneurship national. Further, he started Club Entrepreneur as a way to bring entrepreneurs together in an “open source entrepreneurship” platform. The Phoenix chapter attracted 10,000 members. However, Club E was difficult to monetize.
Burns tired of Phoenix and started a string of business that were only modestly successful. He ultimately left Phoenix and spent six months doing mostly volunteer work in Ethiopia, while starting business on the side (Www.expatrepreneur.us).
“It was a challenging period,” said Burns, “but one that many lifelong entrepreneurs experience. It ultimately made me a much better entrepreneur. I realized that my real strengths lie in connecting the dots and connecting people.”
With a fresh move to the West Coast in 2016, Burns regained his footing and began experiencing a period of success like he never has before. Two precipitous things happened. First, there was the relationship he built with travel aggregator Alliance Reservations and he co-founded aAvia Travel Services., which gave him access to more than one million hotels and other entities in the travel and hospitality industry. He then collaborated with HI-TEK Inc., a long-time technology partner of Vietnam. Together, they have created a venture with the country of Vietnam that will leverage HI-TEK Inc.’s technological prowess and connections with Burns’ assets and entrepreneurial savvy.
Equally successful is Burns’ other nascent business -- Burns Funding. (www.burnsfunding.com). The premise of the company rests on how the use of a bridge loan facility to reduce credit card debt and gain a higher credit score has traditionally been an act relegated to the back alley, where shadowy figures charging exorbitant rates attached themselves to unsecured credit lenders in hopes of making a fast buck off the backs of consumers. Burns, besieged by dozens of requests a day for financial help, has turned his real-world experience as a small business owner into a disruptive force in the credit repair industry. In essence, Burns has institutionalized the bridge funding process, thus unlocking more capital at typically better rates for both consumers struggling with credit card debt, as well as small business owners desperate for debt financing. The media has taken note.
Today, Peter J. Burns III is hitting his stride with many successful businesses.
“I am extremely blessed to be doing what I am doing,” said Burns. “I will forever be a capitalist, but I think the experience in Ethiopia changed me. I want to change people’s lives for the better. Whether that means simply saving them money, or easing their suffering, it doesn’t matter. My mantra has become: Doing well be doing good.”
Release ID: 502473