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Student entrepreneur to speak on innovation in Saudi Arabia

Updated: January 17, 2012 4:24PM

University of Illinois at Chicago undergraduate Ariell Buckingham is
heading to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to meet with business leaders from
around the globe at the Global Competitiveness Forum, Jan. 21-24.

Buckingham, a UIC College of Business Administration marketing major
and a seasoned entrepreneur, will speak on "The Innovation Generation,"
focusing on youth entrepreneurship in America. She is one of four young
entrepreneurs attending the annual forum.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Buckingham said. "It's my
chance to make people aware of youth entrepreneurship and the programs
that can make it successful."

Buckingham will spend five days in Riyadh, where she plans to attend
workshops, blog during the conference, and learn from the experience
shared at the event.

Raised on Chicago's South Side, Buckingham is founder of Smile
Entertainment, a children's party planning service she started in 2007.
In 2009, she was named a Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which provides entrepreneurship
education programs.

She credits programs offered by NFTE and UIC's Institute for
Entrepreneurial Studies for helping to expand her skill set.
"Entrepreneurship is the future, simply put," she said.

Buckingham hopes to grow her Chicago-based business, hire more
employees, and improve upon her product concept. "When I graduate, I
want to own my own building for Smile Entertainment and franchise it,"
she said.

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