Google and Independent Youth joined forces this fall to bring TrepStart Digital to high school students nationwide. The tour focused on empowering teens and introducing them to various opportunities that exist in the tech industry.      

The seven-city tour consisted of a one-day events that took place at Google offices across the country. Teens dove into the world of technology as they developed their entrepreneurial dream by interacting with other American high schoolers who have achieved startup success. Designed as a peer-to-peer exploration of entrepreneurial thinking and achievement know-how, the day included Trep BLAST entrepreneurship breakout sessions; a teen entrepreneurship panel led by IY's Teen Entrepreneur Network member; and a design-thinking lab led by Googlers. The event took place on the campuses of Google as participants learned about the power of entrepreneurship and innovation. Participating cities included: Ann Arbor, New York City, Austin, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Mountain View.

"Our goal is to introduce historically under-represented teens to technology, through creativity that will aid in the removal of perceived barriers to their participation in the field," said Independent Youth executive director Tanya Hamilton. "Google's involvement provides a unique opportunity for teens to learn first-hand about opportunities in tech ranging from engineering to sales and marketing."

A design-thinking lab helped students address the challenge of "How might we embed an entrepreneurial mindset into today's classroom?" Students in attendance developed creative solutions while working with Independent Youth Teen Entrepreneurs on their ideas and solutions to challenges they might face.

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"There is no classroom experience that can compare to a mentor/mentee relationship beyond exposing students to opportunities, showing students they can be innovative thinkers sparked their interest in entrepreneurship," said Roberto Paniagua, Google program lead.

My favorites of the tour's speakers from IY's Teen Entrepreneur Network include the following. All text taken verbatim from the IY website. 

Founder & Inventor: Brooke Martin (15 years old)

Hometown: Spokane, Washington

Brooke is a highly motivated 15 year-old from Spokane Washington. Her journey as a young entrepreneur was launched at Startup Weekend Spokane in the fall of 2012. She was 12 years old at the time and pitched an innovative new way for dog owners to be able to video chat with their pet and deliver them a treat from anywhere with their smartphone, tablet, or computer. After almost two years of development iCPooch went into production in July of 2014 and is now available for purchase in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Brooke and iCPooch have been featured on the NBC Evening News, CBS News, FOX News, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Meredith Viera Show, and countless other media outlets.

Brooke was recently honored to receive the 2nd place prize in Microsoft's 2015 Small Business Contest for her accomplishments with iCPooch. Some of her most recent achievements include being honored at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as the recipient of the 2015 "Appreneur Scholar" college scholarship, being invited by Purina to participate as a featured presenter in their 2014 "Better with Pets Summit" that took place in New York City in October, and winning the "Inventions We Love " segment at the Geekwire Tech Summit in Seattle in October. This past summer she was also recognized by Justine Magazine as one of "12 under 20 Amazing Girls Rockin' Their World." In October 2013 she was selected as 1st runner-up in the national Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, MN.

In addition, Brooke is very excited to be one of 23 entrepreneur members of Independent Youth, an organization devoted to promoting peer-to-peer training of entrepreneurship and business skills to teens across the United States.

Brooke has been active in Girl Scouts since the age of four and participates in a variety of community service projects. She has been honored with a Chase Youth Award for Middle School Leadership, and received the 2013 Distinguished Student Award from the Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted. In addition to being a dedicated entrepreneur, she loves her Morgan horses Bear and Corey, plays the piano and violin, runs cross-country, and maintain a 4.0 GPA.  She is currently a sophomore at Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington.

Founder: Remmi Smith (15 years old)

Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Cook Time with Remmi is a health based cooking show established in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hosted by 15 year old Remmi Smith, the show is based on concerns for the current childhood obesity epidemic. Remmi's objective is to get kids excited about cooking, and to link the skill of cooking to improved nutrition. Remmi's shows and video series air on the international and platforms. Currently she has a weekly cooking segment on KTUL a local CBS affiliate. She was recently featured on Rachael Ray's Yum-O!

Named "Youth Ambassador for Health and Wellness" for Sodexo for their school nutrition program in North America, Remmi works with the executive chefs in 500 school districts and represent 3M students across the country. Remmi's recipes are served in more than 4000 cafeterias. She is getting ready to film her 3rd series for Sodexo which will air on multiple platforms.

Remmi was named among "Top 20 Entrepreneurs" of 2014 by Teen Business. Food Tank named her as their "20 Young People Changing the Food System." Additionally she was featured on their international list of "101 Innovators Creating a Better Food System." Remmi was one of "3 Newcomers Finding a Better Way to Feed the World," by NationsWell.

Remmi is a speaker for Independent Youth and has recently been named Junior Board Member. Recently  named the only Teen Mentor for Thrive15online university for entrepreneurs taught by millionaires, moguls and every day success stories. Remmi is named "Top 20 to Watch" by The Century Council along with Business Leaders, Congressmen, Elite Athletes, and Olympians.

Remmi travels all over the country giving appearances at School Board Associations, Congress, and places of family entertainment to mention a few. She is the author of "Global Cooking for Kids, " which recently won a Gold Addy Award. Her Italian Salad Dressing is sold at Whole Foods Market and other specialty stores in retail and bulk. She is a monthly columnist for International Amazing Kids. She represents the national No Kid Hungry 2 campaign and she promotes awareness of the child hunger issue in all the work she does.

"The only thing that keeps you from getting success is yourself. If you don't go after it, if you don't take a step forward, you're just taking 2 steps back because you're really not doing anything." Remmi Smith ("Top 25 Quotes For 2014" By TULSA WORLD)

Founder: Mikaila Ulmer (11 years old)

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Mikaila is an 11 year-old 6th grader from Austin.  She is the founder and owner of BeeSweet Lemonade. BeeSweet Lemonade is an award-winning natural lemonade with flaxseed and sweetened with honey.  Mikaila sold her award-winning lemonade from her lemonade stand for four years before being picked up by America's healthiest grocery store - Whole Foods Market. BeeSweet Lemonade is now flying off the shelves of Whole Foods Market in TX, OK, AR, LA.

Mikaila has been featured as a panelist at several national conferences including South by Southwest (SXSW), Dreamforce, Dell World, Points of Light and Women Business Enterprise Council (WBEC). At age eight, Mikaila won "Teenpreneur of the Year" Award by Austin's Black Chamber of Commerce and was named, "Most Likely to Succeed' by Austin Monthly Magazine.  Recently Mikaila received the Rising Star Entrepreneur Award by Austin Chamber of Commerce during the Austin A-List of the Hottest Start-up Awards. She has been featured in national publications like The Food Network Magazine, Oprah Magazine and local magazines like Edible Austin and Austin Woman Magazine. Yet, even after receiving awards and recognition, Mikaila has not been distracted from delivering on her company's mission. Her hard word did not go unnoticed when she pitched her business to ABC's Shark Tank and received an investment from Daymond John.

Mikaila is determined to quench the thirst of her customers and inspire healthy habits, while educating families about the importance of honeybees and how to save them. She passionately facilitates workshops about honeybees and entrepreneurship. But most importantly, Mikaila donates over 10% of the profits from the sale of her lemonade to organizations on how to save the honeybee.

It all started when four-year-old Mikaila Ulmer signed up for a children's entrepreneur event.  While thinking about a product to create, two big events happened:

She was stung by a bee, twice in one week.

Mikaila's great-granny Helen sent her a 1940's cookbook, which included great-granny's special recipe for flaxseed lemonade.

After the stings, Mikaila became afraid of bees, but her parents encouraged her to do a little research on them. Mikaila immediately became fascinated with honeybees and their importance to our ecosystem.  She wanted to create a product that would combine her love for great-granny Helen's flaxseed lemonade recipe and her compassion for the dying honeybee population.

Thus, BeeSweet Lemonade was born.

I can't wait to see these young people do great things. If you want to support a great organization that is preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs check out Independent Youth

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