Idea Factory Winter Cohort Ends - Spring Applications Open

1 years ago


As we move into February, we here at Sustainable Startups are very sad to say "goodbye" to a handful of our youth entrepreneurs as they finish their four-month cohort and move on to other amazing things in their lives. This session of Idea Factory was our largest ever, welcoming 16 different youth to participate in the program. These applicants made it through both written applications and in-person interviews to be selected from a pool of over 60 applicants from seven different high school in the greater Salt Lake City area. 

We never could have dreamed of such an amazing group of young people. Ian and I are both truly moved by the dedication, determination, hard work and kindness they have shown to us, to each other and to their community. We have no doubt that these 16 young people will change the world for the better, and will be successful no matter what they choose to do with their lives.

As someone who has worked in youth education and outreach for the past 8 years, I can honestly say that rarely does my time with students affect me the way that these last four months have. I had tears in my eyes as I said goodbye (for now) to them at our last meeting, as I really am just that proud of them. I can only hope that the positive energy and goodwill that was generated by this group propels Sustainable Startups to continue growing Idea Factory programs and empowering more young people to take control of their future and move in positive directions not only for themselves and their community, but for the world. 


"Hands In" is sort of our thing. 


Over the last four months our youth worked with the Sorenson Unity Center to conceptualize and test a business model for a pop-up cafe in the lobby of the Center, which the youth hope becomes a means of further activating and engaging the Glendale community. During their cohort they were introduced to the lean model, focusing on Business Model Canvas development, and critical components of Entrepreneurship including value propositions, customer discovery, costs and revenues, partners, and key resources. 

Perhaps more importantly, participating in actual entrepreneurial activities advocates and develops skills such as critical-thinking, creative problem solving, teamwork, resiliency, experimentation, and professional responsibility. We hope our graduating participants are able to apply these skills both inside and outside the business world to become more capable, confident and versatile world citizens. 


Participants set up a booth at the Sorenson Unity Center to conduct market research. 


We are very thankful for the unique opportunities our cohort was afforded including an invitation from The Leonardo museum to attend the opening gala of their Mummies of the World Exhibit, workshops from Revolution United and Smart Mouth Communications, and an amazing three course dinner with fifteen influential business and community leaders at our first Meeting of the Minds Dinner.


Blurry, but still cute! At the Mummies opening gala at The Leonardo. 


Response from participants in regard to their time with us has been overwhelmingly positive and we couldn’t help but share a few of our favorite quotes from their reflections:

“Overall, I’ve had such a great time in Idea Factory, although it takes a lot of time, I find it to be so beneficial. I wouldn’t give up this internship for anything… I apply the things we learn to my everyday life. Networking, marketing, organizing, planning and so many other things that have proved to be useful. Entrepreneurship is something I want to do for the rest of my life, and Idea Factory helped me realize this.”

- Siamoee, West High School


Mireya Ahumada Teran laughs with Chapul founder and Van Driver, Pat Crowley


“I never would've experienced how it feels to have this sort of ‘change’ in my hands. That if I, a 16-year-old high school girl had the ability to create a business all on my own or with the help of others. Then holy cow, I can do anything. All I need is: motivation, hard work and a goal. With that, I can do all of the careers that interest me if I'd like… Thanks to you guys, I am able to become an even better leader with better communication skills and even people skills. I will miss you guys so much and it makes me sad a lot of us are saying goodbye as we continue to seek for more experiences. If I could, I would lock all of us in a room as we talked and laughed (with food of course) and enjoyed each other.”

- Michelle, West High School



Maria Lemus and Dominque Samora with State Representative Angela Romero


“My journey with idea factory has been an amazing one. I have accomplished so much and expanded my horizons so much more than I thought was even possible. I feel like this experience has changed my whole life, I was just a kinda shy kid who had an interest in business but spent most of his time at home playing video games or doing homework. But then at our meetings I just felt imbued with the courage to speak up and try to really get something out of this opportunity. I gained confidence, skills, contacts, and friends … And this has affected my entire life, not just parts… I have had the opportunity to get to know some amazing people and amazing companies. I have had the opportunity to go to some amazing events, And most importantly I've had a say in what has been happening in my life. I feel like this program has really helped me take control of my life and guide it wherever I want. I feel like I can do anything, and that I'm just at the beginning. I am so happy that I have been able to participate in this program, I feel like it has contributed not only to who I am, but who I want to be.

Seriously though … thank you so much for helping me change my life, ever since I've started doing Idea Factory I will randomly smile throughout my day because of all of the awesome things I'm able to do. I couldn't ask for a better life.”

- Jackson, Academy for Math, Engineering and Science


Sustainable Startups staff and Idea Factory members meet Salt Lake City Mayor Jakie Buskupski 


“Idea Factory was Amazing. I learned so many skills that will help me in my life. I learned never to be afraid to ask for something. Worst thing that could happen is them saying no. I learned that time is one of my biggest opponents in life. As much as I want time to stop. It never will. I feel like I grew up. I learned how to work with other, how to get my opinion out there. I used to be scared to fail. Always thought that failure was bad. Idea Factory taught me that failure gets you closer to your goal. failure can be tuned into a strength. One of the biggest things I learned was that money does not control me. I control it. It's amazing how time past by so quick. One moment I was sitting in a circle with strangers while a flute man walks by just jamming out, next I'm with friends. Not just friends, but my idea factory family running pop up cafes. Yeah it got stressed out at first, but at the end it was all just so worth it. I met people I never thought I would meet, I grew, I got a family, and I had fun! I wish u guys the best. If I can ever help in anyway just let me know. to me this does not feel like a goodbye. It feels like something bigger. I don't know how to explain it. It's just a pause. We will meet again. The program, Everyone in it made me a better person. Thank you for the chance. I had no confidence when I applied. seriously thought I wouldn't even get noticed. Big confidence boost for me. Thank you again. So so much.”

- Bruce, East High School



Winter 2015/2016 Cafe 104 Idea Factory participants and Program Manger, Katia Racine on their last day. 


" My Idea Factory experience has been nothing less than revolutionary for me and has significantly impacted both how I perceive myself and my life currently but it has also vastly changed what I see myself doing in the future. ... I feel it's also worth mentioning that before this program I never considered myself to be one who is interested in business to any degree, in fact, I couldn't have imagined myself being more opposed or, at least, indifferent to it. Looking back, I can say with confidence I never would of come to realize the interest and enjoyment I find in entrepreneurship without Idea Factory." 

- Isaac, Rowland Hall 


As sad as we are to see some of the participants leave (No, I’m not crying … your crying …), we are also very excited to continue with current participants and welcome new applicants. We can only hope that the coming months are equally meaningful to new Idea Factory youth. We currently have a second Idea Factory program running, Sid's Salad Shack, in which particupants learn about high-intensity organic farming with The Green Urban Lunch Box and donate food grown to those in need, and we are accepting applicants for another round of our Cafe 104 cohort. If you know any high school aged youth (or are a high school aged youth!) who may be interested in joining either of these programs, send them to our Idea Factory page for more information or to apply!