A unique and exciting partnership has taken shape in our community. Inderkum High School and Thinktomi (a Silicon Valley company with the mission to increase accessibility to high impact entrepreneurship and business education to people of all ages and backgrounds) are working together to inspire entrepreneurism in Natomas.
June 2014, Inderkum and Thinktomi hosted the first of its kind student entrepreneurship workshop.
Events kicked off at Inderkum with an evening "T-Talk" (Thinktomi Talk). Jason Moulton, a Sacramento native and successful entrepreneur presented how he persevered through childhood challenges, sharing his journey to establishing multi-million dollar businesses. His most recent venture was acquired by the Money Store, a $3.2 billion company.
The workshop for Inderkum students took place over two days. Students learned about what it means to be an entrepreneur.
Each student took the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment to identify their individual strengths and learned the importance of focusing on those throughout their time in high school and beyond. Students learned firsthand how complementary strengths can make for a strong team.
Students had the chance to dive into entrepreneurship with hands-on exercises. In one challenge, teams quickly built products from random materials and prepared pitches to convince their fellow students to invest in their team's products. The ideas were incredibly creative and students did an amazing job in both their entrepreneur and investor roles.
Key aspects of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship were learned, such as building a "minimum viable product" to allow customer feedback early and often, which is crucial for product development. They also learned key concepts about sales, business development, and ways to go to market with their startup ideas. Thinktomi also introduced efficient ways to think through the critical aspects of their businesses, while not merely relying on the traditional business plan.
At the end of the workshop, student teams delivered multi-media presentations rich with research analysis, target customers, financial forecasts, and their business model to persuade the panel of investors. Their presentations were professional and compelling. All students received an industry equivalent certificate of participation and the group with the most votes from the panel of investors and fellow students was acknowledged and rewarded. Several inspired IHS Tigers have continued with product development in hopes of taking their plans to market.
The partnership with Inderkum and Thinktomi will continue into the school year; we are excited to watch young entrepreneurs grow and develop in our Natomas community.