Elix Kicks Off Its First Incubatee Meeting with Impressive Results
by Daniela Schwartz
“Unexpected” and “impressed,” two words used to describe Elix by the admitted high schoolers during Elix’s first staff and incubatee joint meeting.
On December 4th, at Elix’s MindTank headquarters, incubatees and staff got to know one another through icebreaker games. They later brainstormed ideas for potential social businesses, and had personal interviews with Elix staff members. There was a total of over twenty high schoolers in attendance.
Rohan Bhargava and Trevor Baba, two sophomores from Leland High School in San Jose, were accepted as incubatees. The two drove for over an hour and a half to attend Elix’s first meeting. That in itself made it clear that Bhargava and Baba are invested in creating and involving themselves in such a unique social entrepreneurship platform.
Bhargava heard about the opportunity through Stash Pomichter, the Director of Finance and Technology at Elix. Afterward, he told his friend Baba, who was just as interested. From there, the two applied in hopes to begin their journey to become social entrepreneurs.
Most of the incubatees became involved with the program through connections with the staff. Nadav Shenkar, a junior at University High School in San Francisco, was told of the exciting opportunity by Andrew Yates, Director of Operations and Development.
“I thought it was really cool that there was a group that was able to help me start a business, even though I'm only a junior, and the fact that it was also helping the community was something that intrigued me,” said Shenkar.
A large portion of Sunday’s meeting was set aside for the incubatees to brainstorm future projects for Elix to accelerate, some of which included homelessness, environmental issues, and food equality. Most incubatees walked into Elix on Sunday with a single focus, but due to the work they accomplished together, many of their ideas expanded.
Jake Hanssen, a Redwood High School junior, joined Elix with his mind set on political outreach, but left feeling interested in much more. Shenkar also expanded his horizon of interests.
“Up until about three hours ago, I was mostly focused on the business aspects of things, but the fact that we started off with listing world issues is definitely making me focus on the other half of this—which is how this is going to help the community,” said Shenkar.
Shenkar described his experience on Sunday as "unexpected." He was amazed by not only the facility, but also by the progress Elix has already begun to make.
“When I heard about it [becoming an incubatee], this sounded like a tall order to fill,” said Shenkar. “Isabella and Andrew talked a lot about what they had and what they envisioned, and to be honest, I didn't exactly think they could pull it off to this extent, so I was very impressed by how organized this was and the space that they got It was definitely a surprise.”
Elix's first meeting was surprising to more than just the incubatees. While the Elix staff never doubted their mission, they were blown away by the chemistry that the group had.
Yates said that prior to Sunday’s meeting, all the logistics had only been planned, but never executed. Although he foreshadowed success, the incubatees’ positive reactions were crucial to the positive progress of the business.
“All of the incubatees seemed very interested and engaged, and it seemed like everyone was having a good time. Everyone enjoyed being there. Ideas were flowing and it was a good environment overall,” said Yates.
The dedication and professionalism that radiated throughout the meeting is only a preview of the “Bold Change” to come.