Bethel University to Host Second Annual Starting Small Summit

by | Feb 9, 2023

start small summit

Bethel University is set to host the second annual Starting Small Summit April 20, 2023, as part of IDEA Week, an Innovation Festival in South Bend-Elkhart.

The Starting Small Summit will provide the South Bend/Mishawaka community with an opportunity to learn from high-profile entrepreneurs from around the nation. Moderated by Bethel University business alumnus Cameron Nagle, founder and host of Starting Small Podcast, this year’s summit will feature entrepreneurial stories from Cameron Smith, co-founder of Kodiak Cakes; Chuck Surack, founder of Sweetwater Sound; and Peter Tuchman of Wall Street Global Trading Academy.

“The Summit will enable students, businesses and the surrounding community to hear stories of resilient entrepreneurship that have been featured on my podcast. The philosophy of Starting Small reminds listeners that even the biggest brands started small,” says Nagle.

The Summit will be held free of charge. Attendees will also enjoy more than $50 worth of products donated from past guests of Starting Small.

“One of the core goals of the IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame is to help create an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in the South Bend – Elkhart region,” said Kelley Rich, interim vice president and associate provost for innovation at Notre Dame. “This goal can only be accomplished when multiple organizations and universities in our region unite behind achieving it. That’s why the IDEA Center and IDEA Week are pleased to partner with Bethel University for its Starting Small event. This event, which promotes entrepreneurship, is a perfect fit for our mission and for IDEA Week.”

Starting Small Summit will be held on April 20, 2023, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium located on Bethel University’s campus. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. The event is free, but registration is required.

About Idea Week
IDEA Week is an annual innovation festival hosting business, technology and entertainment events to provide entrepreneurs, students and attendees with the practical knowledge, creative inspiration and social foundation they need to innovate within their own careers, studies, and communities. The event is organized by over 15 organizations in the South Bend – Elkhart region including the University of Notre Dame. To learn more about IDEA Week, visit

About the Speakers

Cameron Smith, co-founder of Kodiak Cakes – At the young age of 24, Cameron Smith had just graduated from the University of Utah when he joined Kodiak Cakes as partner and COO in 2009. He quickly became a leader focused on execution and vision, and his optimistic attitude has kept Kodiak Cakes moving forward, even in the face of adversity. The pancake category was not one people talked or cared about. As Cameron puts it, there was “no noise in pancakes.” The challenge was, retailers felt Kodiak Cakes were a commodity that people didn’t care about. But risk and persistence helped founder Joel Clark and Smith create noise in a sleeping category, landing Kodiak Cakes in stores like Costco and Target, and on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Chuck Surack, founder of Sweetwater Sound – Surack’s entrepreneurial success has been driven by a passion for music and a dedication to “always do the right thing” in service of others. In 1979, music began to take over Surack’s entrepreneurial talents when he founded Sweetwater Sound as a 4-track recording studio in the back of his VW bus. Fast forward to today and Sweetwater is now the No. 1 online retailer of music instruments and pro-audio equipment in the United States – employing over 1,800 team members focused on serving over one million customers each year. In addition to Sweetwater, Surack has translated his commitment to “always do the right thing” into ownership of more than 10 other businesses including SweetCars, Sweet Aviation, Sweet Helicopters and Longe Optical in Fort Wayne, Indiana under the Surack Enterprises umbrella. Beyond business, Surack and his wife Lisa are passionate about serving their community. It was this passion that lead them to start the Surack Family Foundation to continue making a difference and even greater impact in Northeast Indiana giving to over 600 organizations annually.

Peter Tuchman of Wall Street Global Trading Academy – Peter Tuchman’s first endeavor after college was a jazz record store and African art gallery on Carmine Street in New York City. Two years later he sold the record store and took a job working in Africa for a Norwegian oil company. On returning to New York, he got a job as a clerk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It didn’t take long for Tuchman to become a broker with a Wall Street career that’s taken him from the crash of 1987 to the boom of the 90’s and beyond. Thirty-five years later, there’s still no place he’d rather be. Tuchman’s passion for the market coupled with his distinct features and animated persona have made him the most iconic trader at the New York Stock Exchange and the most photographed man on Wall Street. Tuchman’s resemblance to Albert Einstein in conjunction with his eccentric personality means he is recognized by thousands and has earned him the moniker “Einstein of Wall Street.”