So far, as an intern for Starter Studio, many of the events and the individuals I have interacted with have truly gone to surprise me in the fondest of ways. This feeling of surprise has come from the amazing leadership and mentorship I see at Starter Studio on a daily basis, admiring just how strong of a community the Starter Studio team has cultivated and the sheer acceptance they offer the entrepreneurs who seek out their programs. Recently, I had the honor of attending one of Starter Studio’s Pitch Nights, a monthly gathering where the community exchanges innovative, new ideas. From quick elevator pitches in an open-mic forum, to formal, investor-ready presentations, all presenters get immediate constructive feedback from a diverse and supportive crowd. Participants also get the chance to network with mentors, founders, and potential investors as they tap into the tech ecosystem.
While I was at this Pitch Night I was taken back by the amazing minds of the local community, being represented in the pitches that I heard from the graduating cohorts of the Idea Stage that night. From environmentally conscious grocery shopping to supporting the music community thru the use of technology and events, the passion oozed out of the pitches as clear as day.
Something that also has surprised me so far this Summer is my research project that I am working on for the Tech Fellows program, targeted to find out the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry in North and Central Florida. The surprises that I have found are from the interviews I have conducted with local business owners around the Big Bend area and the Central Florida area, focused on collecting data to give me a full picture of the effects the pandemic truly has had. Many of the answers I receive from the questions have been a mix of predictable and unpredictable answers, causing my hypothesis of what I thought would be the case to alter itself. Overall, all the surprises that I have encountered from my internship and my research project have given me a lot to look forward to when thinking about the rest of the Summer.