How does a weekend away with 24 of the brightest, most remarkable college students from around the country, incredible lecturers, and on-site insight into a growing business through the eyes of its CEO sound? Pretty good? Oh yeah, and did I mention that it’s completely free? As in ZERO dollars. Even the food was all paid for-and it was definitely a step up from Bon Appetit, if you know what I mean. It almost sounds too good to be true…
This April I had the opportunity to fly to the beautiful city of Austin, Texas to attend the Values & Capitalism Spring Weekend Honors Program on the topic of “Entrepreneurship and Human Flourishing.” Values and Capitalism is the educational outreach branch of the American Enterprise Institute- a public policy research institute in Washington D.C. Basically, it’s a giant conservative think-tank.
It’s easy to get lost in the ridiculously long name, but lost is the antithesis of how I felt as a part of my cohort at the University of Texas at Austin. Austin is an amazingly artistic and beautiful city. When I first arrived, the airport smelled like Bar-B-Q, but that’s a story for another time.
Many of the other students in attendance had travelled extensively and were even working on their own start-up ventures- neither if which I have done. I was intimidated to say the least. But over the course of the weekend we all got to know one another and bonded through the shared experiences of the lectures, workshops, and exploring the city-Sixth Street is the bomb. The people I met that weekend were extraordinary, and there was definitely some incredible networking going on!
But what did we actually do? We had a few short lectures and discussions with Professor Brian Brenberg (if you don’t know who he is, look him up-seriously the guy has two Masters degrees from Harvard and is regularly on Fox News), several workshops on design thinking, the business model canvas, career design, and vocational planning, as well as a visit to Kammok (a Praxis portfolio company) with CEO Haley Robison. Spending a weekend learning with so many like-minded young people was almost indescribable.
By the time everything was over, I felt at home. I had learned so much, both about entrepreneurship for human flourishing (also known as redemptive entrepreneurship) and about myself. The program was absolutely fantastic, and I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship and how it fits into God’s greater plan for humanity. If you love Praxis, then this weekend is for you!
If you’re bummed that you missed a great opportunity, fear not! Values and Capitalism is hosting another Weekend Honors Program this fall (October 27-29) at Seattle Pacific University on the same topic! Another 25 remarkable students from around the country will gather to discuss entrepreneurship and what it means for human flourishing. And there is still plenty of time to apply! Applications for the program are due Monday, September 18. If you want to learn more about Values and Capitalism and the upcoming Weekend Honors Program, visit this link: http://www.valuesandcapitalism.com/weekend-honors-program/. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me at SmithRM1@gcc.edu; or for questions about the upcoming opportunity in Seattle email Mollie Moore (she’s the best!). Her email can be found on the V&C webpage.