When my parents passed away, I felt it would be appropriate to honor them by investing in a student’s future by creating a scholarship for a deserving high school, undergrad or graduate student. Dad was a high school agriculture teacher before he moved into agribusiness, and Mom said she always wanted to be an English teacher. In our family we have many teachers, athletic coaches and mentors, and we value education and learning. It would be a way to remember my parents by investing in young talent. It would sustain positive energy and give people hope for their future. This would be a way to make a difference in young people’s lives just as my parents did for my siblings and me.
First, I tried to set up a college scholarship at the local high school, but for some reason it did not feel right. With college so expensive, how could I assist in a meaningful way? My contribution would be a drop in the bucket. So I decided to invest in young entrepreneurs by being a sponsor at the UT Dallas Big Idea Competition http://utdbigideacompetition.com/. Six well deserving young people pitched their ideas to judges including Guy Kawasaki, Venture Capitalist, Best Selling Author, Former Apple Executive, Bob Metcalfe Co- founder of Ethernet and others.
The energy of the six company leaders was high, for their innovations will create unique value and change the world!
I walked on stage with my big poster board check and presented it to Veena Somareddy, from Neuro Rehab VR https://www.neurorehabvr.com/. Veena is a virtual and augmented reality software developer creating games and experiences for medical training and simulation. Her pitch was solid. Her slides were clear, she had a compelling value proposition, her app using VR glasses and technology to help stroke victims has a proven benefit to patients. Neuro Rehab VR won the Grand Prize as well.
Giving in this way opened me up to how we can help young entrepreneurs by funding their work in the future. My investment was small, but it may help her bring her product to market quicker and change the trajectory and mobility of stroke victims not just in the Dallas Ft. Worth area, but all over the world.
You are a leader and the community needs you to invest in the future. Find a way to invest in a student, an inventor, an entrepreneur. These innovators have jumped to the next curve, ignoring the naysayers. They have taken the first big steps to add value to the world. They are deserving of your investment. If you cannot give funds, then give your mentorship, lend an ear, or share your wisdom with them. They will appreciate it and you will be making a huge difference in our shared future.