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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.

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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