By: Bianca Buliga, Digital Marketing Manager
If you haven’t met Darrell Kidd yet, he’s a force to be reckoned with. He deserves a trophy… or maybe just a good night’s sleep. He’s a husband, a father, a two-time entrepreneur and small business owner, a high school teacher at MET Professional Academy that deploys SEED SPOT curriculum in his classroom, and a mentor for annual Youth Startup Weekends in Phoenix.
Speaking of which, this year’s Youth Startup Weekend is right around the corner from 2/9-2/11! Built on the Techstars Startup Weekend and pivoted for students, the CO+HOOTS Foundation is bringing together entrepreneurs, experts, and community leaders to offer students a glimpse of what it takes to build a company from scratch. In teams, students get to develop their own viable business ideas and get feedback from Phoenix’s encouraging startup ecosystem.
As the founder of Dragonfly Development and a founding partner of Yumm Street, Darrell uses his experiences to guide student participants through the various obstacles that arise during entrepreneurship. “These weekends are very rewarding because it’s an opportunity to help students learn all about entrepreneurship, from identifying a problem to developing a solution and the convincing business model to tackle it.”
Failure is a Learning Opportunity that Leads to Success
Beyond mentoring and running his own small businesses, Darrell has gained a wealth of experience teaching SEED SPOT’s year-long social entrepreneurship curriculum for two years at the MET Professional Academy in Peoria, Arizona. He leads his high school students through ideation, customer validation, market analysis, and eventually pitching their innovative ideas on-stage at Demo Day for a shot at cash, prizes, and exposure to potential investors.
Darrell mentors students through the development of diverse ideas, ranging from helping travelers find a restroom on road trips (think Yelp for highway rest stops), to an app that helps people find their favorite food truck. Students get the opportunity to be creative and share what is important to them in a safe and supportive environment.
“Mentors share some of their embarrassing mistakes and demonstrate that failures during the idea development, business planning, and startup processes are nothing but learning opportunities that lead to success. And as mentors, we teach them to stay positive.”
Discomfort is Where Student Growth Takes Place
“I find it very important to use design thinking when working with our young entrepreneurs. Rather than providing solution paths to the challenges they come across, I look for them to discover the solutions. I ask the students questions about their ideas to help move them in the direction they want to go. While this causes them some discomfort, they are regularly reminded to become comfortable being uncomfortable – that’s where all the student growth takes place.”
Being involved with SEED SPOT has been a tremendous value add for Darrell, both for his personal ventures and his mentorship at Youth Startup Weekends.
“Students learn that if they are going to be successful, someone needs to benefit from their idea and people need to have a desire for it. The resiliency shown by the students is most impressive – in a matter of minutes, they move from being individuals to a cohesive team.”
Ask Deeper Questions to Create the Best Solutions
Darrell’s favorite part of mentoring high school students is “seeing how well the teams evolve and how students learn to utilize the strengths of each of the individuals. They learn not to condemn mistakes, but to talk about them and learn from them. They learn to ask deeper questions to discover how to create the best solution they can. And they do it not because they are told to, but because they want to.”
Darrell – thank you for giving students your time, energy, knowledge, and dedication. Involved teachers like you are revolutionizing the face of education and hands-on learning! We are honored to have you as a part of SEED SPOT’s fleet of kick-butt teachers empowering each student to have more confidence, problem-solving skills, and professionalism. You rock!
Transform your students into leaders of the future.
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