A former computer programmer develops an underground sprinkler system that makes it easier for suburbanites to water their lawns. An ex-CFO finds success designing high-end stationery for people who still enjoy writing letters by hand. A one-time broadband salesman partners with a friend to form an investment banking firm. A former marketing executive decides to open an interactive arcade. An ex-Enron sales lead starts a retail energy company.
These are just a handful of the businesses former employees of Enron Corp. have formed since the high-flying energy company imploded in a wave of accounting scandals in October 2001. And if there is one thing the entrepreneurs learned during their tenure at the infamous Houston-based company, it's to think outside the box.
Enron hired the best of the brightest--the top graduates from the most prestigious business schools--and fostered an entrepreneurial work ethic during its heyday. Great ideas, such as creating a market to trade weather derivatives, were quickly turned into businesses run by the employees who dreamed up the concepts.
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Some former employees admit that when Enron collapsed, they found it difficult to land similar jobs at other companies because the scandal left them tainted. People in the corporate sector did not want to associate with people who may or may not have played a role in Enron's financial shenanigans.
Other ex-employees say Enron's demise created opportunities to fulfill lifelong dreams of starting businesses from the ground up. In that respect, working for Enron--known for its cutthroat competitive environment--gave these former employees the confidence to be their own bosses.