Frank De Raffele, Jr.: The Process of Building New Entrepreneurs

By Kochanowski, Susan M. | Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, April 2005 | Go to article overview

Frank De Raffele, Jr.: The Process of Building New Entrepreneurs


Kochanowski, Susan M., Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship


Executive Summary

Frank J. De Raffele Jr., demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit at a very young age. By the time he was 16, Frank had moved from his Kool-Aid stand, paper route and snow shoveling businesses to operate a small, but thriving, party service. While a student at Syracuse University, Frank was one of the founding members of a campus entrepreneurs association that hosted a conference with the theme of "starting your own business." The conference's featured speakers included the founder of the Center for Entrepreneurial Management and CEO clubs, and the vice president of marketing for Haagen Dazs ice cream. Studying speech communications and television production at Syracuse, Frank started and ran a small business that produced television commercials.

Upon graduation, Frank decided to start his own video production company called Innovative Video Productions. Looking for possible clients, Frank saw some resort advertisements in the New York Times Magazine and got the idea of producing video brochures for these resorts. With no capital, no equipment and no crew, he began contacting the resorts to sell them on the idea of video brochures. Frank soon landed his first client, a resort in Santa Barbara, CA licensed to use the Weight Watchers name. The video brochure was a huge success.

While continuing to work with Weight Watchers on some ongoing projects, Frank turned next to Marcy Home Gyms. Forming another company called Video Fitness, Incorporated. Frank put together an exercise program for the Marcy Home Gyms. Using various themes, Frank produced 27 videos and became a licensee of Marcy Home Gyms - a company based in California. These videos, including an equipment assembly instruction video, were sold in Herman's Sporting Goods stores, the Sharper Image catalogue and through American Express mailers. When Marcy Home Gyms was purchased by a European sporting goods company, Frank's Video Fitness, Incorporated was purchased as well.

At this point, Frank began to work with aspiring entrepreneurs. Having earned a reputation as a successful entrepreneur, Frank worked on business start-ups with various aspiring business owners. Frank would help get the new business up and running and then sell his part of the new business to the partner. Frank is founder/CEO of the Pro Active Leadership Center, the first personal, professional and business development company of its kind. The company consists of three separate but related companies. Frank is president of ProActive-CTM, which specializes in entrepreneurial and professional development; executive director of Business Network International in the Hudson Valley area of New York; and chairman of the Chief Executive Forum for the Westchester and Hudson River Valley areas of New York and Connecticut.

Frank is co-author ofSuccessfol Business Networking, (Chandler House Press 1998) and a contributing author to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times best seller, The Masters of Networking (Bard Press 2000). He has written his own business development column for the Westchester and Fairfield County Business Journals, was the executive producer and co-host of the Business Talk Network radio program and is an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, tramer and performance coach. Frank's client list includes companies such as Wells Fargo, Ernest and Julio Gallo, Liberty Mutual Insurance and New York Life.

Frank has received international recognition in the Toronto Star and the Globe & Mail of Canada. He has been featured in Success, Employment Review, Professional Selling, Sports Illustrated and Playboy magazines and on many national radio and television programs. He has worked with a wide variety Fortune 1000 Companies, non-profit organizations and small business executives. Frank is a member of the American Society for Training & Development and the National Speakers Association. He was a board member of the New York Tri-State National Speakers Association, an executive board member of the Dutchess County YMCA, a founding board member and chair of the Dreams of Gold Foundation, and a board member of the Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce. …

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