A Look Back at Ready, Set, Startup! 2023

Thank you for attending and supporting Ready Set Startup 2023

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported VentureLab’s second annual Ready, Set, Startup! Gala. We’re thrilled to announce that, together, we raised $160,000 to support VentureLab programming! The event was an unforgettable evening filled with delicious food and drinks, exciting live and silent auctions, and a fun pitch event. The energy in the room was palpable as we gathered to celebrate and empower the next generation of diverse innovators and changemakers.

VentureLab Appoints Desma Deitz as New Executive Director

VentureLab - entrepreneurial learning

VentureLab’s Board of Directors is delighted to announce the appointment of Desma Deitz as the organization’s new Executive Director. Deitz assumes the role at a crucial juncture, as VentureLab is experiencing significant growth and is dedicated to providing meaningful opportunities for all youth.

Join VentureLab’s 10th Anniversary Celebration: Ready Set Startup 2023!

facebook post with sponsors Ready Set Startup 2023

Ready Set Startup 2023 is more than just a fundraising event – it’s an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who believe in the power of entrepreneurship education to change lives. As VentureLab marks its 10th anniversary, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating our journey and help us continue to empower the next generation of innovators and changemakers. See you in Austin!

Youth Virtual Pitch Event replay (from December 1, 2022)

Youth pitch event replay from December 1, 2022

Did you miss our virtual youth pitch event on December 1, 2022? It was amazing! Check out the highlights in this video replay. Thank YOU to our mentors, panelists, audience, and most of all the kids who did the hard work of pitching their ideas at this event.

Panelists were:

Albert Swantner is the co-founder and CTO of Betterleave, a company that supports people experiencing the death of a loved one. He’s also a Partner at The Fund Austin investing in early stage startups. Albert advises and invests in numerous startups, is on the board of multiple nonprofits, and works with the University of Texas Humanitarian Engineering Program, SKU, Techstars, SXSW, and DivInc.

Jason Mercado is the owner of Sweet Mission, a for-purpose cookie company baking with love in Anaheim California. As a formerly homeless individual, the goal of Sweet Mission is provide employment to those who come from a vulnerable background and to also give back to the community.

Brooke Turner, Vice President of STEAM Learning at Thinkery is a passionate education and programs executive focused on access and equity. Prior to joining Thinkery, Brooke held the role of Vice President of Programs for DivInc and co-founded a edtech startup, Kwaddle. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for impact came about while growing up in San Antonio, where Brooke saw first-hand the power and importance of culture, community, and education in building a more equitable world. She has applied those lessons throughout her career.

Youth Pitch Participants were:

KD’s Kustom Treats – handmade custom treats by Kimora that offers different types of custom treats, featuring flavored popcorn and hot chocolate bombs.

Jam by Josh – all natural jams made of only four ingredients, for people who love food but think about what they’re putting into their bodies.

Inch by Inch by Isabella – helping to solve the global problem of fabric waste with clothing extenders from scrap. Extend pants and sleeves to accommodate growing kids, save closet space, money and prevent clothes from landing in the landfill!

Blue Blossom Slimez by Camille – homemade scented slimes that are available with in different scents, colors, and included charms. Camille has been working on this business since she was in second grade.

Effortlessly You by Madison – an apparel brand that inspires, empowers and motivates others to be themselves effortlessly. She ultimately wants to start a mental health nonprofit for those who are struggling.


VentureLab holds youth pitch events regularly! Get involved with our next youth pitch event as a panelist, audience, or participant.

New course: Entrepreneurial Mindsets for Educators

Entrepreneur course for teachers

We must must practice and model the same entrepreneurial thinking we ask of youth.
VentureLab invites you to join the Entrepreneurial Mindset Course for Educators to practice and grow the same mindsets that you want to see in the youth you serve. The evidence based program uses best practices in adult learning theory and can be used by individuals or groups seeking to imbue their culture with empathy, adaptability, optimism…all the entrepreneurial mindsets and skills. 

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