Krithika Veerappan was a student on the winning Camp BizSmart Revolights team in 2014 and attended the BizSmart Global Product Innovation Crowdfunding Workshop in 2016. Krithika is the holder of a patent for a solar water purification invention, is in her second year at Carnegie Mellon double majoring in Computational Neuroscience and Robotics and last year studied abroad at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Currently, Krithika is working on a health tech project with the local prosecutor’s office on the opioid epidemic sweeping America.
Here is Krithika reflecting on her Camp BizSmart and BizSmart Global Entrepreneurship learning experiences and their impact on her life:
“Before attending Camp BizSmart, entrepreneurship was not a field I had really considered at all. I thought that the experience would just be an exposure to a different field. Being a part of this program taught me more than I had expected and opened a whole new field for me to put my energy into. The most valuable things I learned at Camp BizSmart were grit, the art of working fast, and how to write a strong business plan.
You may have heard a variation of the saying, “failure is a stepping stone to success.” Camp BizSmart really teaches you what happens between that failure and the next success. It’s not just learning a lesson or making some changes, it’s about the fundamental character trait of an entrepreneur – grit. When life challenges and attacks, – grit is what keeps you going. Throughout the camp, we’d have a breakthrough in marketing, fail in putting our breakeven analysis together, then learn that we’d have to go back and change our marketing strategy to make our finances better – grit kept us going through all these twists and turns. We were fortunate to have done well in our final pitch, but even if we hadn’t, we would have been okay because we had learned that persistence and sticking with it is the secret to success and any win or swivel wouldn’t matter in the short term.
Academia is very traditional, and before I have ever even been allowed to try something new in a lab, I’m always told that because of some untested tradition or paper done in the 1960s, I should try a different idea. We’re not allowed to hack the fundamentals of science, so we must work at a super slow pace. Entrepreneurship is fun because you get to work super-fast. The first place I was exposed to this super-fast work was at Camp BizSmart where the motto is: “Fail forward fast”. It felt great to come up with a product and a business model in the span of two weeks. For me at least, innovation can only happen really fast and passion (which is what I see as fueling grit) is what stays for the long run. Entrepreneurship allows this innovation to happen quicker than other fields that I’ve tried. Almost any project that I’ve succeeded in from designing a mobile medical clinic to doing a boutique cosmetics market study has been as a result of looking at it from an innovative entrepreneurial viewpoint.
While grit and the speed of entrepreneurship were behavior takeaways, concrete takeaways were the business planning and writing skills. Every time I need to write a business plan, I go back and look at the Camp BizSmart business plan. This is how I know my idea isn’t just a good idea, but a good business idea. Our hopes and dreams change but the way we were taught to think at Camp BizSmart about the business model is fundamental to achieving your goals no matter if you are launching a charity, completing a science project, or starting a business. Any time I’ve met all the elements of a Camp BizSmart business plan, my pitch has gone well.
Since completing Camp BizSmart, the most important thing I’ve learned is that entrepreneurship is like your glasses. It’s a way in which to look at the world that perhaps all entrepreneurs have in common, but everything around it – the frames, the things that you’re looking at, and your eyes are so different. I’ve learned that innovation and creativity is like your vision – the unique perspective that one brings to the world. With your unique eyes and the right glasses, we can all see a brighter future and put in the work to turn passion and dreams into reality.”
Congratulations to Krithika who continues to look for ways she can add value in the world and continues to apply her entrepreneurial skills in meaningful ways.
Founded in 2008, Camp BizSmart is now in its 12th year of delivering hands-on project based, entrepreneur experiences that are designed specifically for young people 11-15 and 16-19 years of age. The BizSmart Global Accelerator and Designathon workshops were created to address the demand from alumni and others for next level skill development and entrepreneurial experiences. Visit our website: www,campbizsmart.org for a list of dates, locations and workshops available. Join us for a great summer learning new skills with other like minded young people from across the US and around the world.
Strategic Partners are: Keiretsu Forum, Alliance of Chief Executives, Garage Technology Ventures, Alibaba, Microsoft and the Conrad Foundation. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs from leading companies are advisors, mentors and judges. Successful CEO’s From Hot Companies work with Camp BizSmart Founders Dr. Mike Gibbs and Peggy Gibbs, to create next generation business cases to inspire the students at Camp BizSmart.
Camp BizSmart and BizSmart Global operate entrepreneur experiences at Santa Clara University, Silicon Valley Community Foundation in Silicon Valley, and at premiere venues in major cities around the world. Competitions for Silicon Valley Workshops are held at Microsoft and at Alibaba.
Additional business cases for 2019 will be announced soon, keep checking back for the latest news.