By Raymond Tran
Sitting in the departure lounge of Detroit International Airport at four o’clock in the morning waiting to catch my plane to California for the Kairos Global Summit for top young entrepreneurs under the age of 25, it dawned on me what a rare journey this was going to be for a sixteen-year old student from Kennedy Collegiate.
I was always studious and hardworking in school, but yearned for unique experiences beyond the four walls of the classroom. Joining entrepreneurs from over fifty countries in the Sunshine State fit the bill. I wasn’t the least bit intimated being the youngest.
I started my own company in high school called Tea School – which sold bubble tea to students. Entrepreneurship is my passion and I was excited to meet like-minded young people who shared my experience.
The flight to California was long with the lone highlight of my trip to the hotel being the chance to try out Uber.
I am not ashamed to say that entrepreneurship has its perks. The service at Loews Hollywood Hills Hotel was phenomenal. Employees dressed in formal attire on a very hot day opened my door and got my luggage as if I was a celebrity walking out on a red carpet.
A networking session was held at the Winklevoss mansion that provided a grand venue for easy conversation with the other young executives from over forty countries at the conference. I was able to learn about holding Kairos events and tips on pursuing my own dreams.
The next day, the Kairos Global Summit officially kicked off with a bang at Warner Bros Studios, where about fifty creative ventures pitched their products and services to potential investors such as 3D printed living cells.
Round table workshops led by industry leaders such as eBay, TOMS, Venture Capitalist Tim Draper were organized where the companies gathered feedback and insight from young entrepreneurs on a wide varied of challenges they faced.
What’s a trip to California without a little stargazing. Tobey Maguire, an actor from the Spiderman movies, was there as an entrepreneur and investor. We had a chance to engage and I found him surprisingly quiet compared to the characters he plays in other films.
One of the key speakers that really inspired me was Sabrina Kay. A calm but energetic speaker, she had a great story of how she rose to the top from very humble beginnings after overcoming serious life challenges and her own lack of education. Her determination and perseverance led her to success, opening up a college that soared to become one of the best colleges in America. She also has her own bank! On a personal note, I appreciated the fact she also broke the mold in terms of what it meant to be successful and the message was clear: if there is a will there is a way for any entrepreneur.
Overall the Kairos Global Summit was amazing. There were many aspiring entrepreneurs to learn from. I definitely grew my network.
I learned how to put unique ideas into action and find resources to grow those ideas. I ’m looking forward to applying those ideas back home in YQG to bring about positive change in my community.
My journey continues, as a sixteen-year-old intern at WEtech Alliance – a Regional Innovation Centre that is helping me connect to other entrepreneurs closer to home but with the same passion for innovation and the same dreams.