A story about a high school student who flipped a switch, and found his way to become an entrepreneur.
Ty McCraw can tell you exactly when he decided to go to college to better prepare him to enter the entrepreneurial world. The Hub's Red Raider Startup high school program helped him map a plan to success that's led the freshman to Texas Tech University.
When Frenship High School DECA advisor Amy Baker heard about the Innovation Hub's free three-day program in 2018, she knew it would be a good fit for McCraw. She says, "Red Raider Startup lit a fire in Ty's passion and eagerness to become profitable with his own business idea." McCraw says knowing he would have the opportunity to be around like-minded people was what attracted him to it initially. "It was a really cool place to be, and I enjoyed every second of it."
Red Raider Startup Experience
Red Raider Startup mainly focuses on ideation. The high school program involves students forming teams with participants from other schools. The teams come up with an idea to solve a problem, validate it through customer discovery interviews with Texas Tech students on campus, talk with Innovation Hub mentors about it, and then pitch it to an investor panel. Innovation Hub Program Director Taysha Williams says, "Last year we had some real prototypes built in the three days and some had done 30 to 40 customer discovery interviews. So they took it very seriously." She adds, "The best part of this program is that many of the high school students tell me they showed up to get a day away from school, and then they say they're leaving with a whole new experience that they never even imagined."
McCraw's Future As An Entrepreneur Taking Shape
For McCraw, that experience fueled his future plans. "I think in a way it made me more inspired to become an entrepreneur," he says. McCraw got further inspiration from an internship with Braxley Bands in the summer of 2018, when the startup founded by two Texas Tech students was still based at the Hub. McCraw was back at the Hub in April 2019 as part of the Red Raider Startup high school program's leadership team. McCraw wanted to continue to be part of the Hub's startup community after graduating from Frenship High School in May 2019. As a freshman at Texas Tech University this semester, he will be a leader in the Red Raider Startup high school program again. He will also participate in the university-level Red Raider Startup program. McCraw says his experiences at the Innovation Hub inspired his journey to become a Red Raider. "I knew I would end up going to college, but I was just not certain of what my focus would be. I chose Texas Tech because of the connections I've formed and the school spirit on campus. Seeing how close all the students get and how much they know is all I needed to become a Red Raider."
Red Raider Startup High School Program Registration
The next Red Raider Startup high school program will be held in November at the Texas Tech Innovation Hub. The three-day event is free to participants. If you know a student who might be interested, click here for registration and other information.