You never know where opportunities will arise. We were so busy at the Westport Maker Faire, building our Global Village with the 13,000 visitors, we didn’t realize we inadvertently chatted with Melissa Frey, head of the Northeast Division of the year-long Destination Imagination Extravaganza. Two weeks later, we found ourselves in Knoxville Tennessee, speaking as panelists to young entrepreneurs about starting up a company.
So, if you haven’t heard of it, Destination Imagination is a Global Celebration of creativity, engineering, technology, math and science (basically - STEAM). Teams across the world compete locally, regionally, and then nationally for the chance to head to the Global Finals that convene at the University of Tennessee Convention Center in Knoxville.
Here’s how it went down..
About one week after the Maker Faire, we got an email from Melissa, telling us that she loved our product and teen initiated entrepreneurial spirit of this successful startup. She told us all about DI (Destination Imagination) and invited us to participate in a panel-led discussion on starting a business, following dreams, and the ups and downs that you hit along the way. We thought about it, "Hmmm, miss 2 days of school, get to visit Knoxville, get VIP status at the Expo, and run a panel?" That was an easy sell.
The panel discussion was a great opportunity to share our experiences starting a company as teens. The other panelists were a tad further ahead in their carriers. We were amongst a woman from NASA, The head of the Boys and Girls Club USA, and TV personalities). The only question that stumped us was, "so are you happy that you followed your childhood dreams and achieved what you set out to in life?" We were like- umm, we’re only 15 and 18, we haven’t gotten started yet. We did however, offer a unique perspective for the aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience.
We must have left some impression because back at the 3Dux/design pop-up shop, we found a cute little note of appreciation..
After our talk, we spent the next day at our booth working with kids, parents and educators building, building, building
here are some of our favorites
In the end, we had kids from over 30 states and 7 countries across the globe working to build our Global Village.
Oh, and we also had time to enjoy the VIP status with free push-pops