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Challenge: Back to School 2021

The Power of Collaboration

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After over a decade in the youth-entrepreneurship space I’ve seen programs come and go and I’ve witnessed those who welcome collaboration and those who push it away. Given my belief that all youth need access to entrepreneur education, I am always more fond of those who believe in working together to find creative ways to reach all students. There are at least 41 million youth age 10-19 in the United States … we need all hands on deck to support these kids!

So when the agreement came through that WIT - Whatever It Takes was going to run

640fabda044136a84447e61026a55f2981f36581.png2022 SXSW EDU Student Startup Competition in partnership with SXSW EDU, one of the first things I did post-celebration was think about who I wanted to "do WIT" with and bring on this journey with me. I knew that if we collaborated with other youth entrepreneur organizations we would make an even greater impact.

Here are the amazing organizations that WIT partnered with to help make the 2022 SXSW EDU Student Startup Competition powered by WIT a success. I encourage you to check out their work in the youth entrepreneurship space and reach out to them to learn more.

Diamond Challenge

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I’ve had the opportunity to work with Diamond Challenge a few times over the years. They put on a wonderful competition that invites students from around the world to compete for funding and support. They have a commitment to teen entrepreneurs and believe strongly that developing an entrepreneurial mindset will pay dividends no matter a student's future career path. They have created different programs to meet the needs of students, including EntreX. Felicia Harrington, the Program Manager of EntreX Lab shared that, “The focus on entrepreneurship education is essential because it has the power to unleash students' creative potential while learning how to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world.”

You can read more about their work HERE

Do-or-Dier Foundation

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Learning about the Do-or-Dier Foundation was a breath of fresh air. For years I’ve been sharing (borderline preaching) about why I believe foundations should invest in youth entrepreneurship. For me it’s simple - invest in youth now, see the return on your investment within 5-10 years. If executed well, entrepreneurship education equips young people with the tools and skills needed to be successful contributing members of society. Gratefully, the Do-or-Dier Foundation agrees and finds programs that are making an impact, and provides the funding for them to make even greater impact. Charles Choice, Senior Program Officer at Do-Or-Dier Foundation, believes that investing in young entrepreneurs is important because “the world is evolving faster than ever. By equipping young people with a creator mindset, we can inspire them to be active participants as opposed to passive observers in a consumer-driven society.”

You can read more about their work HERE

Uncharted Learning

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Within minutes of talking with Chief Evangelist of Uncharted Learning, Margarita Geleske, it was clear that she is a true champion of young people and entrepreneurship education. Geleske believes that, “The core skills and mindset developed in entrepreneurship are, in fact, skills for life -- whether you work for yourself or someone else.” She also wants, “... youth to experience entrepreneurship with a teacher, coach, and/or mentor, so they learn how to persevere through the challenges.” The work of Uncharted Learning makes it possible for schools to have a comprehensive curriculum, (such as INCubatoredu) teacher training, and support services to help students develop their entrepreneurial skills.

You can read more about their work HERE


All of the organizations above have contributed either time, funding, coaching, expertise, or access to resources that support the teen entrepreneurs competing in the 2022 SXSW EDU Student Startup Competition powered by WIT. They have also been a wonderful resource for me and a great supporter of the work we do at WIT. In a world where many people and organizations choose competition over collaboration, I’m grateful these organizations see that when we work together the most important people win … our youth!

Learn more about the SXSW EDU conference HERE


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