STEMpreneur 2017

Pitch it! Build it! Launch it!

What is the STEMpreneur Program?

STEMpreneur 2017 is the third iteration of our historically popular STEMpreneur series. The goal of the program is to bring together high school students in the Central Texas area who are interested in exploring the intersection of applying STEM concepts and entrepreneurship in a hands-on, project-based manner. The series is comprised of two components:

  1. 3 Day Startup – An intensive entrepreneurship program where students go from concept to polished pitches in the course of a single weekend.
  2. Innovation Workshops – A series of Saturday sessions where students move from vaporware and conceptual ideas to early stages of real, tangible implementations.

Media Coverage From Previous STEMpreneur Series 

Why Should I Participate?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. As a high school student, it’s easy to dissuade yourself from aggressively pursuing your ideas as there are seemingly so many things that you need to do first (graduate, go to college, get that first job, etc.). The idea of transitioning from a high school student to an innovator capable of bringing your novel ideas to fruition certainly seems like a tremendous jump in that context, and this seemingly wide chasm discourages many who don’t have the proper guidance and support. At STEMed Labs, we believe that you don’t need to wait until tomorrow if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to drive your ideas forward today. STEMpreneur is a unique opportunity where students can take that first step and begin their personal journey toward realizing their inner innovator.

The Value of the STEMpreneur Program

The journey across this metaphorical chasm is no easy feat, and it means stepping out from behind textbooks. It requires trying, sometimes failing (failure is both good and necessary), and pushing forward. This isn’t a test with a grade at the end, it’s a series of hands-on and rigorous experiences meant to help you learn and grow in an accelerated time frame. Participants of the full program will get to start with the seed of an initial idea, test it “in the market,” and, based on actual customer validation, take the initial steps toward moving their innovations and companies forward.

3DS – Rigorous entrepreneurship experience.

You have a great idea, one that’s going to take the world by storm. Your mom thinks it’s great, and your friends give you positive feedback. However, strangers don’t lie. Do you have the humility to ask their opinion about your ideas, and later distill insights about the real problem that needs to be addressed? The successful entrepreneur is one who knows how to find the intersection of their ideas and the problems that customers truly want solved. STEMpreneur is your hands-on training ground.

Innovation Workshops – Rigorous design and technology experience.

You’ve got your idea, and you’ve verified that strangers are willing to pay for it. How do you move forward to building it? There are many ways to solve a problem, and in today’s landscape, there are countless hammers for the proverbial nail. Which available technologies will you use? How do you discover what is available? In our Innovation Workshops, you’ll be mentored through the ambiguity and lack of clarity inherent in early-stage development so you can begin bringing your ideas to life.

A Closer Look at STEMpreneur

STEMpreneur 2017 will consist of two parts. Though highly encouraged, students are not required to apply to both components.  Instead, students can select the program tier that is right for them:

  1. 3 Day Startup (3DS) – An intensive entrepreneurship program where students go from concept to polished pitches in the course of a single weekend.
  2. Innovation Workshops – A series of Saturday sessions where students move from vaporware and conceptual ideas to early stages of real, tangible implementations.

    3DS – Pitch it!

3 Day Startup is a learning-by-doing weekend workshop that teaches entrepreneurial skills to students in an extreme, hands-on environment. 3 Day Startup has been run at universities on 5 continents. Key aspects of 3DS include:

  • Day 1: Participants arrive – with or without startup ideas – and a facilitator leads the group through dedicated brainstorming, preliminary pitches/feedback, and team selection modules.
  • Day 2: Customer discovery (teams exit the building or hit the phones and talk to potential customers), structured mentorship, intermediate pitches, and feedback sessions. Day 2 places heavy emphasis on business model generation and coding.
  • Day 3: Continued execution (including pitch workshops) leading into final pitches/demos to an esteemed panel of mentors and investors.

Innovation Workshops – Build it!

This year we’re introducing a new series of Innovation Workshops with STEMpreneur. In previous years, many teams left 3DS excited and ready to carry their ideas forward in some capacity. But without a venue to bring teams back together and the mentoring on how best to proceed, these efforts quickly lost steam. This year we’re incorporating a series of short and intensive workshops for participants to help capture that excitement. For students who choose not to participate in 3DS, this is an opportunity to bring your skills to bear on any of the company ideas, or to pitch your own project and work with collaborators. The workshop days are meant to create the productive ethos of folks passionate about carrying their ideas forward. As part of these workshops, we will also have industry speakers discuss topics such as:

  • Rapid prototyping
  • IoT/Embedded systems
  • Augmented/virtual reality

The Innovation Workshops will include:

  • Week 1: Pitch ideas, form teams, and start planning your development goals.
  • Weeks 2 and 3: Develop and build your ideas, obtain support and feedback from mentors, learn from other projects and ideas.
  • Week 4: Complete your development and present to your peers and mentors. Celebrate your hard work and success!

Innovation Learning Pathways (ILP) – Launch it!

We know that for some students, the passion and desire for your projects won’t end at the conclusion of STEMpreneur. The drive and determination to see your ideas come to life will keep you up at night and tinkering on the weekends. For you, STEMpreneur will be a transition into the next stage in the journey of becoming an innovator, and we’ll invite you to join us for our summer and fall ILP cohorts.


Program Details

  • 3DS: 3 Day Startup will take place at Capital Factory (701 Brazos Street, Austin, TX 78701). The programs runs from March 24th-26th:
    • Friday: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    • Saturday: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
    • Sunday: 9:00 am – 6:30 pm
  • Innovation Workshops: Our Innovation Workshops will be held at Akins High School (10701 S 1st Street, Austin, TX 78748) on Saturdays 4/1, 4/8. The third and fourth sessions (4/15 and 4/22) will be held at Capital Factory.
    • Saturdays: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

STEMpreneur Application Process

We invite high school students from Central Texas to apply to the STEMpreneur program. The program is free to all participants, but requires completing all steps of the application process:

  1. Submit an online application (via the link below) and select your desired program tier.
  2. If selected, you will be contacted to schedule a required phone interview.
  3. Successfully complete your phone interview.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to limited space we urge students to apply as soon as possible. This will also help ensure that interviews are completed by the deadline.

Program Phase



  • Application open
  • Submit your online application
  • March 11th
  • Phone Interviews
  • Complete your phone interview
  • March 18th
  • Final Notification
  • All accepted students notified no later than
  • March 22nd
  • 3DS Weekend
  • 3DS weekend dates
  • March 24th – 26th
  • Innovation Workshops
  • Innovation Workshop dates
  • April 1 (Akins)
  • April 8 (Akins)
  • April 15 (Capital Factory)
  • April 22 (Capital Factory)

Space is limited, so start your application process today!

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