The following essay was written by Jessy Huang, a finalist for the 2017 SuretyBonds.com Small Business Scholarship. You can vote for Jessy to win one of three scholarships here.
As a started to put together my business plan for Creaduh, reality dawned on me. I realized this was more than just a business plan, this is something I wanted to do for life. I wanted to become a social entrepreneur, working collaboratively with talents around the world was the way to go for me.
Upon entering high school, I felt trapped – get good grades, do extracurriculars, volunteer, apply for scholarships, and go to a good college – the way of life of every “wise-student.” However, I wanted to prevail beyond these stereotypical hurdles. To kickstart the vision of becoming a serial social entrepreneur, I founded my venture – Creaduh. Creaduh is a site and service dedicated to educating people, particularly youths, about 3D printing (3DP). Around the same time, I was reading Chris Anderson’s Makers. This book gave me an overview of 3DP’s impact on society. It gave me insight into the concept of democratizing manufacturing, that 3DP may be a game-changer that would lead to the Third Industrial Revolution.
I thought, “why don’t I lead the change now by starting a 3DP business and impact my community first?”
A problem overlooked with 3D printing is that people are often unaware of its power to create; Creaduh solves that by educating people about 3DP, with the hope of promoting manufacturing. Looking at what I have, my major advantage is the ability to communicate to a younger audience and educate them about technology, thus promoting 3DP awareness. So that’s what I did.
My role as the founder taught me valuable lessons as an entrepreneur and as a person. I built a functioning online 3DP knowledge base platform (Creaduh.com) that prepared me for the technical aspects of running a business. I also reached out to experts in public relations and branding, which resulted in extensive networking. While I fulfilled custom 3D printing orders, I learned the significance of customer service. Developing a business strategy and pitching to investors helped me to understand human psychology and communication. Running educational workshops for youths to learn about 3D Printing exposed me to the joy of philanthropy and social responsibility. All of these lessons that I’ve gradually learned are essential aspects of being an entrepreneur. These lessons have come at an important time as I take the leap of faith of starting a business in real life.
Now, Creaduh has presented the technology of 3D Printing to more than 2,500 people, with recognition from organizations such as the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, Young Entrepreneur’s Academy, and the Texas Republic Bank.
If I had to pick a favorite activity, hosting educational workshops with Microsoft for Girl Scouts was one of the best things I’ve done with this venture. From noticing those curious glares at the technology of 3D printing to seeing their satisfied smiles as they completed their 3D CAD model designs, I feel fulfilled by the service I could provide to the Girl Scouts. I hope they can create a high impact using this technology.
I also learned about having a “growth mindset” to overcome obstacles and enhance my curiosity of the world. I learned to believe that my situation and position are not fixed, and there is always the potential for growth and opportunities. It was possible to surpass my potential limitations: race, gender, age, connections, and even socio-economic class. With the goal of becoming a serial social entrepreneur, I will join Watson University in Boulder, Colorado in the Fall of 2017.
Watson University is an incredibly unique program for students with the main focus on becoming social entrepreneurs. Essentially, it’s an accredited degree-granting incubator. Students come from all over the world to focus on developing their social ventures, with an end goal to create a positive impact on providing solutions to some of the most challenging society’s problems.
Watson students are not only idealistic and optimistic in the sense that we can make the world a better place by addressing the root cause of a problem, but we are also realistic and gritty in the sense that we aren’t afraid to start and bootstrap a solution given a limited environment and outer constraints. I attribute these characteristics to starting my business from early on.
My vision and goal at Watson consist of two parts: entrepreneurial, and social. With an extensive entrepreneurial goal, I want to develop a long-lasting social venture impacting 50,000 people within two years of graduation. Through the journey, I want to have the skills and knowledge to bootstrap companies given the limited resources. Socially, I will meet and discuss ideas with two mentors, start more ventures with its alumni, and establish a long-term relationship with at least 80% of the peers in my cohort. I will persist until these goals become a reality.
In the supportive environment of Watson, I believe that my entrepreneurial courage, as well as my peer’s courage can be protected and encouraged. That we won’t be afraid to step out of our comfort zones with a bias towards action. And the possibility of having a world-vision, influential and supportive community excites me for the futures ahead. To me, it is a challenging yet exciting adventure that awaits for my vision of becoming a successful and independent, social entrepreneur. I understand that this is a challenging route, but with a strong desire to strive, and a gritty idealism to thrive, I choose to never settle for anything below my expectation of excellence, never settle for the fear of failure, and never settle for my dreams.
Jessy will attend Watson University in the fall to study social entrepreneurship.
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