Catapult, a business incubator that aims to source the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
Catapult believes that every student, every idea, every startup has the possibility to do great things. To shape culture. To impact society. To disrupt business. To inspire change.
Catapult provides aspiring young entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to develop and bring their startup idea to the next stage of development. Through workshops, mentorship, and a pitch competition, these young people acquire crucial social impact and entrepreneurial skills such as leadership, teamwork, and empathy, in an immersive environment of like-minded peers and advisors.
"...Since October 2014, Jess' meticulous, thoughtful, and carefully considered approach to her work has had a hugely positive impact on Catapult's ability to execute our programming - as well as our students ability to understand and fully appreciate the design process."
— Joshua Caleb Collins, Founder & CEO at Catapult
Myself and the fellow creatives, who volunteered our time on a Saturday early morning, co-facilitated the brand positioning workshop with Catapult students. This was our initial engagement with this organization as well as the student group— the collaborative effort of delivering concepts that we, as creative mentors, are familiar with to the young entrepreneurs felt extremely rewarding and humbling.
There was a total of 5 mentors who participated in this workshop. Each mentor was assigned with a specific team of students to deliver an unique high-touch experience based on the student needs, as well as following the basic workshop framework shown as following:
Similar to the UPenn workshop, this workshop shares a similar intention of assisting students to accurately position their organizational brand. With the previous workshop experience, the creative mentors (different participants) were comfortable with a open discussion format and rotating among groups rather than having one single designated team to work with.
The students had previously worked on their Business Model Canvas earlier in their curriculum, therefore, cross-referenced questions were frequently asked during the brand positioning workshop.
2014 – 2015
Aside from in-person, high-touch workshop experience— I worked with two separate teams of bright individuals to help craft their identity. The key to this engagement is not only to deliver the final identity design, but also to utilize this opportunity to guide students on how might they communicate with a professional designer on a self-initiated project. During the 5 weeks mentorship experience, I dedicated 1 hour/week for each team to chat online through Google Hangout. Other online communication such as emails and slack channels was also expected.
The following content showcases the two teams that I worked with:
STEMs for Youth
STEMs For Youth is a non-profit organization that helps youth grow and flourish in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Students sometimes don’t see the value of learning STEM subjects in school. Our mission is to change that perception and infuse them with excitement and the ambition to learn more.
"Jess was a tremendous help with our logo design and organization brand. She walked us through the thought process of a designer and the best way to convey our thoughts to a designer. She was so terrific, teaching us Design 101 and discussing the pros and cons of each idea we came up with. Jess showed us what a true, real world design collaboration would be like so we can use this experience in our future endeavors. Working with Jess was amazing. I learned so much during our meetings that I will be able to apply later on in my life.It was such a great experience and I appreciate all of Jess' help!"
— Morlan, Founder at STEMs for Youth
VOCAP is a mobile application that helps anyone build a vocabulary in a foreign language while watching a video. Users can choose any language they want to learn from a selection of videos with the four main features including a video playlist, randomized highlight vocabulary, a words bank and a summary page.
SF Impact Hub Workshop
The SF Impact Hub workshop was a two days engagement. Differ from the previous experience, which took place at an earlier timestamp within the Catapult curriculum— this time, the students were leading up to their Demo day right after this two days workshop. The pressure was high.
On day 1 evening, I presented an hour long lecture on Visual Psychology. With the awareness of students were actively preparing for their final pitch deck— I wanted to deliver some tangible tools for the group to utilize right away. I challenged the students to consider visual surprise, hierarchy, tonality, question, humor, and overall journey experience while designing for their final presentation. Meanwhile, a good understanding of numbers, scale, white space, consistency...etc are critical for capturing audiences' attention while presenting.
On day 2, I returned to SF Impact Hub, and worked with each individual team for 30 minutes each— during this process, we took a deep dive into each team's current deck in order to, collective, analysis and critic on how might we better improve the pitching experience through presentation refinement.
It was very powerful to witness all teams have included my recommendations from the lecture into their own practice.
To conclude, I am a firm believer in education for social impact. By working closely with these bright, genuine, and vibrant future entrepreneurs— it empowers and humbles me to continue to strive for excellence in my own professional and personal practice.