While some ACU students spent their Fall Break at home with family and some went camping with friends, a few lucky students went on a trip organized by the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy and co-sponsored by the School of IT and Computing. On this trip to California, the group had the unique opportunity to meet with leaders of several major startup companies.

The concept of a “startup” may not impress you, and as a result, you may find yourself thinking, “I’m not really familiar with a lot of startups; I don’t think this trip could have influenced me.” If that’s the case, think again, because these fourteen students got to meet with Google.

The Group at Google

I bet that’s a company you’ve heard of.

The group that participated in this trip was comprised of a variety of classes and majors. Dr. Brad Crisp, who led the trip along with Dr. Jim Litton and Kevin Roberts, ACU’s Chief Planning and Information Officer, appreciated the diversity of their team. “We had a very diverse group of business and technical students on the trip, and it was great to watch them interact with each other and with the companies,” commented Dr. Crisp.

The group headed out of Abilene on Wednesday, October 24 and returned to town on Sunday, October 28.  While Dr. Crisp anticipated a good experience at Google, he said that he was also very pleased with the rest of the trip.

“I knew the students would enjoy Google, and they did,” explained Dr. Crisp.“What was more exciting to me was hearing students say how much they learned from the entrepreneurs we met.”

The five-day journey included stops at:

  • Inigral: an organization that uses social networking to improve enrollment and retention at colleges and universities
  • Circa: a news app that keeps users up-to-date by adding details to pre-existing stories as they unfold
  • Silicon Valley Bank (www.svb.com)
  • Corona Labs: a company that allows individuals to create apps without having to wade through the technical language of coding
  • Lanica: an equally impressive app-creating company

The Group at Silicon Valley Bank

With such a wide variety of successful start-up companies, the group had an incredible opportunity to see entrepreneurship in action and to meet with leaders in each of these prominent companies.

“Everyone we met with was great,” said Dr. Litton. “They shared stories and insight on critical issues they as entrepreneurs and their respective companies have dealt with along the way and are currently facing.”

From Circa, whose app was actually the top featured app in the app store on the day our group met with them, to Google, world super power, creativity and innovation were evident in each of these incredible companies, as well as in their representatives.

The Group Meeting with Company Representatives

As Dr. Litton pointed out, “I thought it was great that students had the opportunity to visit with founders and leaders of companies at all different points along the startup lifecycle – early concept development, launching a product, securing funding, growing a company, and even maintaining an entrepreneurial culture in a company the size of Google.”

Keep your eyes open for more unique COBA and SITC opportunities like this one!

(There was also a free day in San Francisco!)