John-Glen Davis & Justin Harvilla, Startable Greene Mentors

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John-Glen Davis and Justin Harvilla, Startable Greene Mentors

Startable Greene is slated to begin its second year of programming in July. (Applications are still open until June 26!) In anticipation of another great year and the first year of virtual programming, we interviewed two Startable Greene mentors, Justin Harvilla and John-Glen Davis.

About Startable

Startable is completely virtual this year! All programming will work to support individual student businesses and pair students with one-on-one mentor guidance. Technology prototypes will be designed using CAD 3D modeling drawing software like Inventor and Fusion 360, Tinkercad Circuits, and other free cloud based programs. Students will develop a wide range of skills in 2D and 3D design, graphic design, photography, coding, and more. Students will compete by video submission and our awards ceremony will be online July 29th, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the top 20 pitches across two age divisions, 13–15 years old and 16–18 years old.

Final date to apply: June 26th. Program dates: June 29th - July 29th

Interview with John-Glen & Justin

When did you first know you were an entrepreneur?

John-Glen: I gained interest in entrepreneurship during a course at Waynesburg University. It showed me a way to fix problems and solve different problems that may influence others. Although I am not yet an entrepreneur myself, this journey of understanding how to become one, has driven me to strive for this goal more each time I learn something.

How has living in Greene County helped support your entrepreneurship ventures?

John-Glen: Living in this community has given me many different opportunities. Having such a small community, there is a great sense of support. People are willing to give their time and talk with you to help you gain knowledge, understand things from a different view and support you in any way that they can.

Justin: I have received nothing but encouragement and trust from our community, the latter being the most important and driving component that reminds me to stay on track and do the best work that I can.

What’s something that you’ve made recently?

John-Glen: Most recently, I have been bending towards a new creation. Discussing different solutions of a relatively common problem among those who kayak, a friend and I came up with what we think to be the best way to make kayaking more accessible. What we are trying to build now is a kayak dolly that helps people have the ability to pull their boat with ease to the creek or river. Our first creation will have two wheels like a dolly with a basket for your kayak. This will be easily put on your boat for when you’re done.

I have made different wood burned planks that has become a bit of a hobby of mine that allows me to create and make things while solving a small puzzle.

(The kayak dolly has not yet been made.)

Describe your path that led you to where you are now?

John-Glen: Up to now, the path that I have been on has been a long term push from a few years ago. Realizing and seeing all the people who are around you to help in any way, has opened my eyes to see what I can actually do. Throughout my college experience, I became more and more engaged in my classes as I moved into the higher level courses. This gave me the want to learn more and just grow and develop in all facets of my life. Having professors and mentors throughout this experience has given me more confidence in myself. As always, my family support and love has never failed and continued to be the light in my tunnels of life. My family has never let me down and has always been there to bring me up and I can’t thank them enough for being awesome. Seeing us grow and see more life together, has tightened our bond and overall strengthens us to stay determined and always be go getters.

What’s the best part of being a Startable Mentor?

John-Glen: The ability to develop and teach our students more about different avenues in their lives. It is an awesome experience to engage with students where you were in their shoes at one point and to give them what I wish I knew when I was their age. This is such a powerful opportunity that has been a great joy to experience and grow with.

Justin: There is a moment when I’m brainstorming with a student about their project, usually after we have covered the basics about how prototyping and startups work. You can see them making connections between their own ideas and the information that they receive from the Startable curriculum. These connections become tools for their creative process that spark new and exciting ideas. When that spark catches in the student and they really engage with their own potential, I feel like we are getting somewhere, and as a mentor, that is the best feeling.

What’s your favorite place in Greene County? Best Pizza?

John-Glen: My favorite place in Greene county would be a local farm where a disc golf course is available to the community. My friends and I spend a ton of time just messing around on the course playing some disc golf. It’s a great way to get outside and active while enjoying some competition and some company. My favorite part though, has to be the horse that roams the farm.

My favorite pizza in the area would be Scotty’s Pizza! They have delicious food, great workers, and they are a LOCAL business!! Always trying to support those in the area.

What are some resources that support entrepreneurs in your region?

Justin: First and foremost, I would say the Startable program for young adults. This is our second year in Greene county, and it’s an opportunity that I want to preserve for high schoolers in the area to give them a head start in their careers. Considering that last year’s pitch competition ended with two Greene County students taking second and fourth place out of all the Allegheny cohorts, I think we have proven the creative potential of our community. I would also recommend Waynesburg University’s entrepreneurship programs. I can speak from experience not only from working alongside their program, but also in working with one of their students, John-Glen Davis, whose work ethic and levelheadedness has put him at the top of my list every time I need to bring on an additional team member for a project.

Describe a problem you’d like to solve.

Justin: I desperately wish that I could help more people see through the illusion of impossibility when it comes to their career goals. Doubt and fear are things that all creatives and entrepreneurs struggle with but thinking that something is just impossible is a dream killer. Choosing to let those fears make the decisions, settling into a routine, and losing momentum on goals can create that illusion of certain things being unachievable. It’s an issue that I and my students deal with from time to time, and I wish that we could just find a way to turn that off, but it seems to be part of the process that just has to be pushed through if you want to really earn the fulfillment of a goal.

What do you hope Startable students will achieve through your mentorship?

John-Glen: I hope the students will grow in different ways throughout their experience. Having them reach goals and see different heights is our ultimate goal. Success would be for the students to leave with an understanding on what it takes to start a business from scratch. Other ways I see success, would be seeing the students gain confidence and a sense of experience throughout their time with us and to prove to themselves that they CAN do it.

Justin: I hope that my students will realize that failure is part of the process. Really, I hope that my students redefine what failure is entirely. Some people think of failure as a permanent state, something like a trap. If you happen to fall in, you’ll never escape. I find that mentality to be inhibiting and self-fulfilling. Failure is just part of the learning process and usually results in major triumphs as long as you don’t stop moving towards your goal. The trap type of failure, that inescapable mindset of regret, is what comes when an entrepreneur just gives up. My goal is to help my students become friends with their failures instead of being afraid of them and to use them as a fuel to keep them moving forward.

What do you hope to gain through being a Startable Mentor?

John-Glen: I hope to gain many different professional skills and I hope to understand how to communicate to others in ways that will get through to them as best as I can. Being online now, engagement may be hard to achieve because you can be behind the screen and not participate and I want to understand how to engage with the students in different ways to guide them more. Understanding the different motivations the students have, shows a lot about how they are and will allow you to find better ways to get them to engage in the course and overall develop them into leaders of tomorrow.

Justin: I love seeing my students hone their skills. I am constantly seeking out those problem solving “ah-ha” moments and the thrill of transmuting an idea into a real object. Without my mentors, I wouldn’t know how exhilarating those moments are or the unique creative joy that follows. I would love to be that type of mentor for as many people as possible as a way of paying it forward. I sometimes think of these relationships as a long chain, each mentor being the link that supports the next.

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Startable is a program of Innovation Works.

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