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The Premier High School – Austin at American Youthworks Entrepreneurship CTE class recently attended the 2019 Student Startup Crawl in Austin. This was an experiential field trip that helped students visualize their futures and introduced them to what careers are available in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field.

Students explored tech companies during working hours where they met people who work in the tech space. They also had the opportunity to speak to entrepreneurs and CEOs of DivInc, an investing venture focusing on helping women and minorities start businesses; Retail Me Not, a coupon app integrating coding and engineering with product management and software skills; Galvanize and Capital Factory, co-working and networking spaces helping people make the most of their budding business ideas.

One student, Nicole D., said, “The most interesting part of the field trip was learning the different routes each person took in order to get where they are.” Some software engineers spoke about how great it was to work with non-tech people to create useful products.  Alternatively, students met an English major excited about coding and computer engineering. Nicole said she learned that “you can join the military and they will help you become an entrepreneur.” This student has expressed interest in joining the military already but now she’s even more excited about how the military can help her with her business dreams.  

Visiting such diverse entrepreneurs and learning their stories was enriching and inspiring. The DivInc CEO noticed how much investment money there was in Austin but how few entrepreneurs of color were taking advantage of these opportunities.  He decided to change this dynamic and create a business designed to attract and support under-served entrepreneurs. The keynote speaker came from a non-tech background where people did not expect you to be successful. He ended up writing bestselling tech books, owning a design company, and working in the counterintelligence department for the U.S. Navy. The Premier High School – Austin at American Youthworks campus serves mostly students of color and many of them aspire to own their own businesses.

PHS students listen to staff at Capital Factory explain how their networking space works.

Every field trip is a welcome addition to shaping our world view.  Visiting these tech and co-working spaces put a visual to how people are manifesting their ideas into their businesses.  Our students definitely got a taste of how many opportunities, how much hard work, and how much fun the tech business world can offer.

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