What hot, new pastime is inspiring entrepreneurs to launch businesses?

A business-based board game is actually inspiring entrepreneurial startups. Ed Patisso is just one of many who have launched businesses after playing CASHFLOW 101, which was created by Robert Kiyosaki, author of the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. Some entrepreneurs are finding the board game, which teaches financial principles for accounting and investing, can create wealth—and not only in a Monopoly-money kind of way, but in real-world dollars.

Patisso, for instance, founded American Real Estate Equities in Mineola, New York, after playing the CASHFLOW game. The company, started in 2002, offers solutions for homeowners in pre-foreclosure, mortgage financing and real estate services. "CASHFLOW 101 supplied the missing link," Patisso, 30, says. "I'd taken accounting courses in college, but there's nothing like how the CASHFLOW 101 game is structured—it helped me learn to manage risk. [Before I played], I didn't really understand a balance sheet or income statement." Patisso, who still plays the game often with gaming and business community group, NYC CASHFLOW, expects his sales to hit $250,000.

New York City isn't the only CASHFLOW mecca. Many groups meet around the world to play the game. People can go to www.richdad.com for information and to www.cashflow.meetup.com members to meet other intereste CASHFLOW 101 players. Several local groups meet through Yahoo! Groups online as well.

"I created the board game because accounting, when I went to business school, was the single most boring subject on earth, and investing is the most frightening," says Kiyosaki. "[But] to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be both entrepreneur and investor. You have to know the world of investing."

Kiyosaki adds he came up with CASHFLOW 101 first and then wrote Rich Dad to promote the board game as well as a whole Rich Dad lifestyle, with games (CASHFLOW 202 is the more advanced follow-up to 101), books and articles that have inspired a devoted following. As far as CASHFLOW 101's following, Kiyosaki explains the appeal to startup entrepreneurs: "All of a sudden, [people] can see the next dimension—a world of freedom where they never have to have a job again. It becomes the most addictive, compelling drive."