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When one thinks of Mexico City, startup companies would not normally be at the top of anyone's mind. But, I had the chance to spend a few hours with some of the local entrepreneurial organizers there last week and was very impressed with what I saw.
Last night I had the privilege of watching the first ever Get in the Ring Competition in the United States. Though this competition is in its sixth year, this was the first year that the United States had participated. The process began in August with groups of judges sorting through about 300 applications from startups all across the country. After several rounds of judging, the final eight startups were invited to Kansas City to participate in the U.S. version of Get in the Ring, the American Startup Clash.
Can you guess where the follow startups were founded-- GameStop, Woot, Words with Friends, SOFTLAYER? Probably Silicon Valley, right? No. How about Boston? Wrong again. I'll give you a hint: it's the fourth largest media market in the country, home to 18 Fortune 500 companies and boasts two major airports, serving as headquarters for two major airlines. Sounds like a pretty good place to start a company, right? Dallas, and the surrounding area called the "Metroplex", sure thinks so and it wants you to start thinking so as well. On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the emerging startup scene in Dallas. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found here.
As an entrepreneur in residence, I'm responsible for a wide variety of projects ranging from program management and storytelling to mentoring and teaching, the latter being the main focus of this and future blog posts.
In this installment of my Ice House series, I sat down with Ice House alum Chris Vallee to learn first hand what he got out of the entrepreneurship program. Vallee, an intern at the Kauffman Foundation, attended the program two years ago at Johnson County Community College. Signing up for the class by chance, he quickly found a new perspective on the decisions he had been making in his life, and a renewed, invigorating urge to chase the life goals he had let fall by the wayside.
Kauffman Labs is not your typical classroom, but then again, Nancie and I are not your typical instructors. In fact we do little in the way of instruction in the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program (IHEP) and focus more of our energy towards facilitation. Students are encouraged to explore, experiment, solve problems and learn from one another. It's not what they're used to, but I think they liked it. It gave them the opportunity to expand their idea of education beyond the confines of absorption and regurgitation. It's about learning from the experiences they have with each other.
"CODE2040 is a unique and dynamic program that creates access, awareness and opportunities for top minority engineering students to ensure their participation and leadership in the innovation economy." CODE2040 places students in internships with top tech companies and provides them with mentorship, leadership training, and network development.
Last week, we hosted Ice House Facilitator Training here at the Foundation. We had people come from across the country and the international community to be trained in how to facilitate an entrepreneurial mindset to members of their community. I had the chance to sit down with one of the facilitators, Rob Elwood, and learn about his reason for coming to this training, and how he sees it benefiting his community in Annapolis, Md.
Healthcare conferences seem to have a monopoly on exercise and wellness, but that’s not always the case at Health 2.0. Fitbits and contenders were nowhere in sight at the session on “Tracking and Monitoring Wellness.”
Technology infrastructure got some respect during a panel discussion at Health 2.0, "The Changing Infrastructure Behind Health 2.0 Companies."
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