ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS ALIVE AND WELL
Have to share my pride and a short story about three mentees. Arizona State University has a program for students that allows them to submit a business proposal and if accepted, they each receive $1,000 and a mentor to guide them for one semester. At the end of the semester they have to prepare a “pitch deck” to present to a panel. Out of all the presentations, 15 are chosen to go to the next level. This requires another presentation to another panel of business leaders and from there 10 are choosen to receive an additional $5,000 to invest in their new venture. The top five also get an all expense trip to Silicon Valley to visit and learn from successful startups.
I am proud to say I had three such students placed in my care. We met on a weekly basis and worked on their new ventures. The three businesses were:
- EMBER: a unique hand warming system they designed to be used in conjunction with a portable charger as is used to charge a cell phone. With their $1,000 they designed and built several prototypes and tested them.
- HALEN: This is a unique design for a pool safety system. If anyone falls into a pool an alarm goes off poolside as well as in the house. It also sends a notice to your phone and a live picture. This is a wireless system which is really needed.
- ALQUANTAL: this young student from South Sudan developed an organic pesticide which is very inexpensive, (about 10 % of what imported pesticides cost). He developed this formula in South Sudan and tested it on 20 farms. Hunger is the major cause of death in his country and pests are one of the major reasons. Commercial pesticides are very expensive and many contain poison. He also used $500 of his original $1000 to buy a generator in South Sudan so he can teach farmers how to irrigate.
Out of the 15 finalists, all three of mine placed in the top ten and will receive $5,000 to continue building their businesses. HALEN place in the top five and will be rewarded with a trip to Silicon Valley in addition to the $5,000.
I enjoy being a mentor and helping small businesses reach their potential. All three of these ventures will be profitable in their first year. They all had open minds and did not argue about their assignments, they just did everything that was asked of them. Now if I can only get all small businesses to embrace direction and assistance. I will publish web addresses to these three businesses after the first of the year.
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