After Day 1 of NCEA, I had big expectations for Day 2. Once again the workshop shattered even my wildest dreams. Students came in refreshed and excited to continue learning about startups and how they could become an entrepreneur themselves.
The day started off with a game of G. B. I. to open their minds and get the creative juices flowing. For this exercise, students wrote down one thing that was good, one thing that was bad, and one that was interesting about a given topic. Topics ranged from homework and curfews to war and celebrity’s earnings. The creativity of answers left me in awe. It really must be true – you lose creativity as you get older!
Next, students broke down into small groups of 2 or 3 to begin working on their hypothetical startup. Each group went through numerous ideas and weighed the pros and cons of their choice. Once an idea was selected, students looked at market opportunity, customer acquisition, price point, and marketing. I was very impressed with the business vocabulary and background knowledge of most attendees. They will continue working on their startup on Day 3 in preparation for “Demo Hour” which is scheduled at the conclusion of the workshop.
Around lunchtime on Day 2 we had a real treat. Students were led on a tour through NC State’s Garage by members of the Entrepreneurship Initiative. They had the opportunity to see a laser cutter, 3-D printer, and a wood-working shop, along with speak to student entrepreneurs who utilized the space. This seemed to be the highlight of the day as many of the students seemed to get excited to see the potential resources at their disposal in such a cool space.
After lunch, we went back to work on the student startups. Ideas flowed freely and became more and more bold. By the end of the afternoon session, most groups were in a position to do major damage! Nothing like seeing a wide-eyed, fearless 16 year old begin to think that he can make an impact in the world.
Finally, the day wrapped up with a great tandem of speakers. Dr. Gary Beckman, Director of Entrepreneurial Studies in the Arts at NCSU, gave a fantastic presentation on the specific issues facing entrepreneurial arts students. Some included color, professionalism, and expected “look” of a product. He then hammered this point home by giving the floor to one of his students who has an awesome startup. Suzanne Matthews runs Soutenu Tights, a local business that protects the health of dancers by incorporating new measures of joint safety into dance wear already on the market. The students had a ton of questions and really seemed to enjoy both speakers.
With Day 2 in the bag, Day 3 should be amazing. The workshop is jam-packed with speakers and concludes with the “Demo Hour.” I’m looking forward to seeing the final products, along with encouraging each student to pursue their endeavor once they leave. We will see what comes of the day but if Day 1 and 2 are any indication, I’m prepared to be overwhelmed!
If you like what we are doing at NC Entrepreneurship Academy, you can check out Startup High which has a few open spots for next week. We are big fans of what they are trying to accomplish! As always, leave a comment or tweet me @APompliano with ideas, reactions or suggestions!