As a student at USC in the 1970s, Paul Orfalea came up with an idea while watching his fellow classmates stand in line for copies. With a $5,000 bank loan and a 100-square-foot space next to a Santa Barbara hamburger stand, Orfalea opened a single copier operation named Kinko’s — a nod to his college nickname based on his curly hair.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Orfalea will speak on the topic of “Creating a Career in the 21st Century” at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons. The event is free and open to the public.
“Paul’s success story is inspiring to students and entrepreneurs alike who must face challenges and obstacles in order to make their dream a reality,” said Kevin Anthony, chair of the college’s hotel & restaurant management program and the event organizer. “We are very excited to hear Mr. Orfalea share his experiences and knowledge with the next generation of innovators.”
Orfalea – who failed two grades and struggled in school because of dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – defied the odds and relied on his creativity to forge his own path.
Before being sold to FedEx Corporation in 2004 for $2.4 billion, Kinko’s had more than 1,000 locations worldwide, reported $2 billion in annual sales, and was consecutively named as one of “America’s Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune Magazine.
Over the years, Orfalea has shared his success story as a public speaker with countless companies, schools, and organizations across the country.
Author of the books “Copy This!”, “The Entrepreneurial Investor,” and “Two Billion Dollars in Nickels,” Orfalea frequently teaches at USC, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Loyola Marymount University. The Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly and the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at UCSB were named in his honor.