By Haris Memon
As I began high school, I wasn’t so sure what I was interested in or what I wanted to do. Every time someone asked me what I wanted to do, I would simply say “finance”…I don’t know why. Maybe it was because of the fact that my siblings majored in finance, and so since I didn’t have knowledge of any other industry when I was 13, I simply had my sights set on joining the financial world. I didn’t really know how to prepare for it, so I simply tried to beef up my resume with meaningless memberships at common clubs like FBLA where I wasn’t very involved. Then, all of a sudden, I began to discover the world of entrepreneurship and technology. In other words, startups. I began discovering one article after another, one website after another, and one blog after another. I really began to find my own interests, rather than those of my family members.
One of the platforms I found most useful was Quora, which I discovered during my junior year. On Quora, I was able to learn so much more about entrepreneurship and technology through advice from prominent startup founders and employees. There’s a world of knowledge contained in Quora, and it’s not just about startups-it’s about any topic you could imagine.
Through my first few posts on Quora, I had over 35K views. I began receiving more and more advice, but I knew I needed to do more. I realized I needed some real experience. Simply reading forums and articles wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to throw myself into the wild, because no other learning experience trumps that. After creating a LinkedIn and a resume, I applied to dozens of companies for internships. I had received a summer internship at a company called Bindo, located in NYC. It was a 2 hour commute from my house…I couldn’t turn down the offer, though. It was just too good of an opportunity. I had also received an internship at another company, where I would work from home on a few projects. Fast forward a few months, and I have much more experience and knowledge in the startup world that I had previously. I now held a total of 5 internship positions, some that I had completed and some that I was still partaking in. With all that I had discovered through Quora, LinkedIn, and my experience in those internships, I realized I wanted others to feel the same thing. I wanted others to feel like they were doing something very valuable with their time, and building up professional networks and resumes at a young age. I wanted them to experience that feeling of being fine with sleeping at 3 AM on a school night, because of the fact that they enjoyed what they were doing. The internships and opportunities in entrepreneurship, to me, are truly rewarding and fun experiences. If it gets to the point where you end up crashing and falling asleep everywhere though, hold back for a while and start to give yourself some more sleep…
I didn’t want other students to be limited by the connections and opportunities available at their school. Thus, I decided to change the concept of my school club, Entrepreneurship Club, and turn it into a non-profit organization that provides mentorship and internship experience to aspiring entrepreneurs. Disruptive Young Entrepreneurs (DYE) was now born.
At DYE, we’re currently attempting to expand to other schools. As of right now, we’re providing members with internships through some of our partner companies. Also, we’ll be bringing in guest speakers and hosting school-wide Shark Tank styled competitions. We’re setting our sights on expanding to other schools, because that will truly fulfill our vision of building a network of experienced students that are going above and beyond what their school offers outside of the classroom. We want students to be able to gain real-world experience, and with that, be able to start their own companies and organizations. Let’s say for example your interests and skills lie in marketing and sales, but you want to start a technology company. At 16 years old, you won’t be able to pay for a professional programmer…but what if there’s another high school student out there with the same vision, however he has computer science skills instead of sales/marketing? Since you two are at different schools, you’ll never discover each other. However, with DYE, we want to change that. We want all branches of DYE to network with each other and host online conferences/meetings where students can collaborate on their business ideas.
So far, it’s been a very interesting experience. The initial meeting at our school was a huge success! The entire room was filled with anxious students. Our website will be launching in a few days, probably right after Halloween. We’re going to host a large Shark-Tank styled competition next month, and we aim to make it school wide. Thus far we’ve already provided roughly 20 members with internships in NY & LA, and we want to go further than that. We want to partner with more companies, and find more mentors. If we achieve our goal of expanding to many other schools across the nation, we’ll truly build a generation of ambitious, passionate individuals that are eager to disrupt future industries.
To learn more about DYE or start a branch at your school please contact Haris at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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