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Risky Business

All entrepreneurs face start-up problems. But in an industry where the clients face the hazards, these adventurers had to find insurance or head back to the land of the employed.

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This story appears in the May 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Today, business is booming for Fulcrum Learning Systems Inc. in Redondo Beach, California. The company's organizational development seminars capitalize on cutting-edge experiential education trends, and Fulcrum's adventure-based learning programs cater to a steady nationwide clientele of Fortune 1000 companies, community and youth organizations, and sports teams. Building their company from the smallest of beginnings, Fulcrum's co-founders, J. Linwood Paul and Leslie Bourne, were bitten by the entrepreneurial bug a decade ago.

But the heady exhilaration of making their own way in a field they knew like the backs of their hands was tempered by administrative realities. In an industry where clients are regularly put in controlled-risk situations, qualifying for liability insurance would be no easy task--especially for a company with no track record to prove its safety. It's the single element that can make or break an adventure-training company, says Bourne: "Without insurance, there is no business."

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