Promotional image for the conference of Elicit Innovation 2: The Why Behind Your Projects.

On Saturday, September 3rd, I attended a Conference and Startup Innovation Fair on campus brought to us by a group of students who are part of  the Idea Platform Association. At first, I didn’t know what I was going to find or how I’d fit in as an English major since the email invitation for the general public said they were looking for people interested in areas of engineering, business/marketing, and design. I still went there to see how I could make the most of it. As I arrived at the main event area, in front of the amphitheater Figueroa Chapel  around 9:00 a.m., I noticed all the well-dressed people waiting for the event to start. I for one thought I was underdressed, having sneakers and jeans rather than a dress and heels like the rest of the girls.

To start the event, TeatRUM’s students gave us an interactive ice-breaker presentation. Then the keynote speaker Carlos Cobian arrived, founder of Cobian Media and H3 Tech Conference, who opened up to the public by talking about his backstory on how he started his projects, making it a friendly and exciting environment, getting us all on our feet, dancing and shaking off the morning weariness. We’ve heard the cliche saying that if we want something we should fight for it and not wait until it comes to us, but looking at Carlos and how his dreams came true really motivated me to follow my dreams no matter the obstacles.

After Carlos’ speech, Emmanuel Oquendo—president of Idea Platform—got up to thank everyone who was present and congratulated us for being part of history in the making since we were going to attend the first ever Startup Innovation Fair in Puerto Rico. This activity was not only focused on sub graduates students but also on professors and any faculty member looking for opportunities in various fields, and that is when I realized I’m in the right place at the right moment. We got divided into groups following up the keynotes’ presentation, to our areas of interests around campus for various project presentations and workshops.

The workshops consisted of three main areas: business and software development, and design, but the main idea of these workshops was to understand the “why” of our future projects. To learn how to cater an audience and target their needs with a specific product or project, whether it’s environmental, social, technological, or any other area. We had pizza for lunch, continued with the remaining workshops of the afternoon and headed back to the amphitheater for our next keynote speaker’s presentation.

Chilean entrepreneur Sebastián Vidal, from Parallel 18, provided a deep story about how he found Puerto Rico to be the perfect place to start amazing projects that could change the world. I felt grateful and honored to hear that Puerto Rico is a fruitful place with a thriving generation of people who wanted to bring a better economy for the island and could even have the impact of changing the world. Later, each of the companies that were going to attend the Startup Fair had five minutes to talk to the public about their mission, vision, present their projects, and explain what type of employee or intern they were looking for. We got a chance to vote for our favorite project presenters of the afternoon via an internet poll, awarding the winners a trophy (made by IP 3-d printer) and handing out acknowledgments for the crew and contributors.

Finally, it was time to seek for a job or intern opportunity at the Startup Innovation Fair where all the project and company presenters of the day were at the public’s disposal to answer questions, and offer opportunities to those who’re looking for a change. These innovators came to this first ever Startup Innovation Fair to recruit smart and creative people from UPRM, to help them flourish their projects for a better future in distinct industries and in society. Most of the companies were looking for writers and bloggers. Even though they all focused on a special vision, like The Drone Creator app and Sunne Heater (solar heater company), I realized they all had something in common: the need for bloggers, writers, graphic and digital designers. Students from the Department of Arts and Science, such as Languages, Social Sciences, Arts, and the rest of the Departments can take advantage of these events, stand out and look for opportunities that could help them shape their future.

Be sure to check your email boxes for the next Elicit Innovation Conference coming to campus! Don’t let the opportunity slip away!

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