Have you heard of “start up weekends”? It’s kinda like Kickstarter. Individuals pitch an entrepreneurial idea. The crowd votes on the top ideas which teams form around. I tried it with my water stories (now a project I’ve named H2yOu) on a whim. There were 20 people at StartUp Toledo at the University of Toledo who pitched their ideas. The top 6 were selected by popular vote. I was one of the 6! I had 54 hours with a newly formed team to create a business plan where we validated water stories with research and mapped out what my website could look like, as well as a non-profit business plan. Although forming a non-profit was a hypothetical idea, I had resources to help develop this. I did not win, but had the practice of pitching a 5 minute presentation to a panel of critical judges. I identified the inspiration as the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship and my expedition to the Arctic and gave a shout out to geographic literacy. The next day, several people reached out to me with support and offers to help! I am now presenting at a couple more conferences and applying for others too. I’ll need more time, money, and resources to make a stronger website, but have this as a starting point on my blog. Teachers are joining me in piloting lessons!
This 54 hour challenge was that – a challenge! It was fast-paced, stressful, and emotional to be judged on my presentation delivered with passion. It motivated me to move forward to put myself and my ideas out to the public. It guided me to organize my ideas from thought to action, and to think like an entrepreneur. I look forward to where this project will go next!
A huge thanks to Jared Jakes of LJcreates. He believed in my idea and dedicated his weekend to mentoring me through the business side of an educational idea!