In this episode of The Boost, we’re learning about Venture Lab, where education meets entrepreneurship. Dr. Cristal Glangchai, founder of Venture Lab, and Desma Dietz, Executive Director, share how they’re shaping future leaders. From tackling tech’s diversity gap to global impact, Venture Lab redefines education and innovation. Join us for an inspiring conversation into a future where every child is empowered to thrive. Venture Lab is transforming education, one entrepreneurial mindset at a time!


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Leon Hitchens: Linkedin



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Welcome to the new episode of The Boost, where we’re diving into the incredible world of Venture Lab, an organization reshaping the future of education and entrepreneurship. Join us for an amazing conversation with Venture Lab founder, Dr. Cristal Glangchai, and Executive Director, Desma Dietz. We explore how Venture Lab empowers the next generation with the skills, confidence, and entrepreneurial mindset needed to thrive in an ever-changing global landscape. From its roots in addressing the underrepresentation in tech to its expansive global movement, Venture Lab is not just preparing kids for the jobs of tomorrow—it’s revolutionizing the way we think about education and innovation. Join us as we uncover the inspiring journey of Venture Lab, the impact of its programs, and how it’s paving the way for a more diverse, creative, and entrepreneurial future. Get ready to be inspired by the transformative power of entrepreneurship education with Venture Lab!

Meet the Guests:

  • Dr. Cristal Glangchai, Founder of Venture Lab, shares the inception story of Venture Lab, fueled by her desire to address the underrepresentation of women and minorities in technology and entrepreneurship. Starting with teaching her young children entrepreneurial concepts, Cristal’s vision expanded into schools, evolving into a global initiative.
  • Desmond Dietz, Executive Director of Venture Lab, discusses the organization’s mission to prepare youth for a rapidly changing world by fostering entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, thereby bridging the gap in education and addressing inequality in innovation and leadership.

Key Highlights:

  • Venture Lab’s Origin: A deep dive into how Venture Lab was born out of a need to encourage more girls and students of color to explore technology and entrepreneurship, beginning with innovative summer camps in San Antonio.
  • Impactful Programs: Exploration of Venture Lab’s unique programs that go beyond teaching kids to start companies, focusing instead on cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset that empowers them to navigate and shape their future.
  • The Role of Educators: Insights into how Venture Lab trains educators to adopt and spread entrepreneurial education, ensuring the movement reaches a wide and diverse audience.
  • Mentorship and Community Support: The importance of mentorship, partnerships, and community involvement in amplifying Venture Lab’s reach and effectiveness, including how mentors and subject matter experts play a crucial role in inspiring and guiding the next generation.
  • Looking Ahead: Reflections on Venture Lab’s growth over the past decade, its aspirations for the future, and how it plans to continue impacting the lives of young entrepreneurs globally.


Venture Lab stands at the forefront of redefining education for the modern era, making entrepreneurship an integral part of learning for children worldwide. By instilling confidence, creativity, and resilience in youth, Venture Lab is not just preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow but is actively contributing to a more diverse, innovative, and entrepreneurial future.

Stay tuned for more episodes of The Boost, and don’t forget to visit to learn more about their incredible work and how you can get involved.

Visit Venture Lab:

Visit us at or email us at [email protected].

Pablo Calvo (00:00):

Welcome to another episode of The Boost. Sit down with us as we

talk to Venture Lab. Hey guys, thanks for joining us. This is Pablo and this is

Leon. And I’d like to introduce Dr. Glangchai, founder of Venture Lab, and

Desmond Dietz, the executive director of Venture Lab. And I’m really excited

about this episode because as far as being involved with Venture Lab now, it is

been about three years. So I’ve seen the growth and all of the changes that are

happening. So thank you so much for coming on the show.

Cristal Glangchai (00:36):

Thanks for having us. Yes, very excited to talk.

Pablo Calvo (00:40):

So Dr. Glangchai.

Cristal Glangchai (00:42):

Oh, Cristal,

Pablo Calvo (00:43):

Thank you. Thank you. Okay, Cristal, tell me about how Venture Lab

came to be.

Cristal Glangchai (00:50):

Oh gosh. Yeah. So started back in, I always forget, 2012 or 2013,

I think 2013, I was thinking about it in 2012. So I had started a tech company

in grad school and really noticed lack of women in tech, lack of women, CEOs,

lack of Hispanics, even within the investors, not many women or people of

color. And that got me started thinking where were all the women and people of

color in tech, in entrepreneurship, in investing? So when I went to the

university, I was trying to kind of solve for that problem. I wanted to get

more girls and students of color into my class, and I really found it was like

pulling teeth. I just couldn’t get them into my classes or they’d get into my

classes and they would just drop out. They would be like, oh, I can’t do it. Or

they’d be very timid or afraid to raise their hand.


So I realized I needed to start even younger. So I started

teaching my kids who were four and five at the time, and I started teaching

them the same Intraperitoneal concepts that I was teaching my college kids. And

found that just by changing the language, they were learning the same thing. So

they’d go to school, they’d start raising their hands, they would sell stuff in

the playground and get in trouble. But I was really excited about that. But I

really noticed their increase in confidence and their teachers were coming up

to me saying, Hey, how do we get this into schools? How can we teach kids to be

more confident? And Intraperitoneal, that kind of led us on the start. We

started in San Antonio with summer camps and then ended up going into schools

and have now become kind of a global entrepreneurship movement. I think.

Pablo Calvo (02:32):

That’s amazing. So what is it about this issue that you feel is

imperative for the community to understand?

Cristal Glangchai (02:40):

Well, I think there’s actually two issues. So my main problem is I

think preparing girls and underserved youth for a world that’s constantly

changing. There’s so much innovation is changing so rapidly. We’ve got global

interconnectedness and we’re not preparing students for the future. So the

education system was really developed during the industrial revolution and it’s

kind of a factory model to churn out workers that can do tasks and follow

specific rules. And what we haven’t done is prepare kids for a world where they

need to be okay with ambiguity, whether they need to problem solve, open-ended

questions, they need to be able to seek out opportunities. So I think that’s

part of the problem on the education side, the side that I’m passionate about

is that there really is this huge inequality gap for women and people of color

in entrepreneurship, in innovation, in leadership positions. So we really want

everyone creating new products and new processes and new companies. We don’t

want to be leaving out 50% of our population. So I think it’s really important

for our community to be able to educate all children in these Intraperitoneal

skills and mindsets so that we can basically be creating products and services

for everyone and benefiting our society.

Pablo Calvo (04:05):

Very good. As far as the overall broad impact on the community,

Venture Lab success is going to have an impact on that. What would you say that

broader impact would be if Venture Lab is successful,

Cristal Glangchai (04:19):

If Venture Lab is successful? The way I see a broader impact is

that we’re bringing more diversity of thought, more diversity of perspective,

more diverse people into solving these grand challenges and problems of

society. So just making society a better place by having products and services

and companies that are developed by a diverse group of people.

Leon Hitchens (04:46):

There’s a number of organizations that are doing it. It’s a

problem that’s out there, but what sets Venture Lab apart from these other

organizations or others that are advocating for this out there?

Cristal Glangchai (04:59):

Yeah, I think what sets us apart is really our focus on teaching

entrepreneurship, but not just entrepreneurship as far as starting companies,

it’s really about that Intraperitoneal mindset. Giving kids the courage to try

something and fail to learn about seeking out opportunities to learn to be

failure resilient in schools. Right now, we teach kids to get the perfect

grades, to get the A’s to go apply to the perfect college to get the perfect

job, but we don’t really teach them to fail. And as an entrepreneur or someone

developing products in any field, you have to be able to one, fail and learn

from your failures. And I think the other critical piece is that we’re starting

by teaching these mindsets really young. So a lot of studies show that kids’

brains and synapses, they’re forming new connections super rapidly. So if you

can start to teach kids the Intraperitoneal skill sets and mindsets at a young

age, I think that’s something that they can draw from forever in their

lifetime. It doesn’t matter if they start a company earlier on, but they now

have access to that pathway of like, oh, here’s how I can do it. If they are an

artist and they’re trying to market their art, if they’re an engineer trying to

develop a new product, they can go back to that learning and use that process

and they already have that built in confidence saying that they can do it.

Desma Deitz (06:27):

Yeah. Leon, if I could add something to Cristal’s comment about

the two different issues that we’re trying to solve, that lack of diversity and

really preparing youth. One of the things that drew me to Venture Lab that I

found unique about it is this sort of starting young, but when you think about

entrepreneurship, immediately people think about, oh, it’s starting a business.

We are not interested in third graders dropping out of third grade, fourth

grade and launching the next successful billion dollar product at all. We want

them to know how to take an idea, not dismiss it because it’s silly or stupid,

and really show them how they can take it from just that nugget in their head

and give them the skills along the way to fail a lot, but learn from those mistakes

to be agile and then learn the hard skills of how to do market research and all

the way to culminating in pitching to their peers and the adults that they

respect and really transforming really as a student.


And that leaves them from that class into the next grade into

their next career. And when we look at Jobs for the Future, just did this

incredible paper called, oh gosh, I think the Big Gap or something. And it’s

about how if you’re starting in high school to teach kids about

entrepreneurship or career exploration, it’s way too late. And for that very

reason that mentioned about where are the girls in these classes, they’ve

edited themselves out with that lack of confidence. So if we are intervening

with these mindsets and with these skills at this early age, it can really,

really change the trajectory. So that inspired me and really, really excited

about the work that we’re doing now.

Leon Hitchens (08:06):

I find it interesting because it’s just like languages, they say

start very young and it’s easier to learn. If I try to start a new language

today, I’m going to struggle and probably sound not the most fluent in that

language. And I’ve got two young daughters, I want to teach them that there’s a

process and there’s different paths in life. And I like that it’s not just

starting the dropout of middle school or high school and start a business, but

I really love that. In what ways are Venture Lab working to uniquely address

these challenges? There’s a few paths here that we’re talking about too.

Desma Deitz (08:50):

Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, Cristal can speak to when she was there

developing very first curriculum for that very first summer camp here in San

Antonio. It was entirely for girls. And so she had a very specific focus of I

need to create a safe space where these girls feel like they can take those

risks and raise their hand and really, really challenge themselves to tackle a

big problem. And I think that the essence of that, not even the essence, but

the actual curriculum and evidence-based that created all of that content is

now infused into everything that we do in our current programs, which are now

plentiful. Now we’ve got an entrepreneurship plus agriculture deep dive into

how you can create products and services from agriculture to our career

exploration program where we’re really challenging kids to ask different

questions. It all started from this place, I think, of focusing on what

additional supports and activities do girls need to feel safe and to thrive and

to be able to feel kind of confident in taking those risks. I don’t know if

there’s anything more specific you want to speak to about the curriculum itself.

Cristal Glangchai (10:00):

Yeah, well, I was just going to add that we did develop it with

girls in mind, creating that safe space, showing them how they could apply

their passion to the world using stem. But it was also how do we address making

it fun, making learning fun. So kids would come in and be like, oh, we’re not

learning. We’re just going to Venture Labs. So having them brainstorm on the

walls, listening to music, having it be more interactive, engaging, actually

meeting entrepreneurs that look like them. So it was really trying to develop

this comprehensive, engaging, fun, safe curriculum. And I think that’s what

really makes it unique. I think also we’ve really gone from, we saw the results

from the summer camps and we really wanted to have a huge impact. So we

decided, okay, what’s the best way to do that? We need to train the teachers

and the educators to be Intraperitoneal themselves.


We really want to have a large impact and make sure that we’ve

spread this Intraperitoneal movement and that all kids have access to it. So by

training the teachers and these Intraperitoneal skill sets and mindsets, those

teachers themselves can now go and train and teach their students and really

spread this Intraperitoneal movement so that all kids have access. And I think

that that goal and that belief that all kids need access to Intraperitoneal

learning and Intraperitoneal mindsets is really I think what makes us unique

and our drive to really grow and scale this among all the teachers and students.

Leon Hitchens (11:36):

Okay. One thing, Desmo that you mentioned was evident based, and

I’m big on a scientific theory and everything that happens in life, you craft a

theory, you back it up with numbers. I’m kind of interested in understanding

how Venture Lab uses evidence-based to educate these young girls and young


Desma Deitz (11:58):

Yes, yes. Well, as the architect of the curriculum, please jump

in, but really it’s rooted in a bunch of research and that’s why we call it

Evidence-based, because the content itself was developed on research that

proves behavior change, social emotional learning, 21st century durable skills.

What are the lessons and the way that you deliver that content? So that was a

lot of what we referenced in the shaping of this curriculum. The way that I’ve

seen it evolve over the past 10 years too is we are very much a teacher

informed and teacher. So we really, really invest in our program evaluation to

figure out what’s working and what’s resonating and what’s not. Most

importantly are we seeing the outcomes? And I would love to have a deep dive

with you on outcomes saying, how do we know what success looks like? We measure

after every single program, how effective was this in moving the needle on

those competencies that we just talked about, the Intraperitoneal mindsets that

we are seeking to develop?


And if we see those improvements, then we know we’ve got the right

ingredients and we’ve got the right dose and we’ve got the right intervention.

But it’s a constant reworking and improving, getting that feedback loop. And we

try to publish all of our evaluations so that people can see the real impact of

our programming. And a lot of times that’s what it takes to get a community to

understand, especially administrators who are interested in teaching of the

test. But when you turn around and show them, look at the change in these

outcomes that matter to you that matter, not for nothing to future employers

who are looking for Intraperitoneal thinking critical problem solving skills.

And if we’re embedding that and teaching that here, that’s what that’s looking

for too. So it’s a lot of just reminding and resurfacing the outcomes of our

programs where we’re really starting to see people that get it and then want to

continue to build and let’s add a grade next year. Let’s keep going deeper with

this content. And that’s what we’re seeing all around the country with our


Pablo Calvo (14:03):

I like how you mentioned the teaching to the test. My kids when

they were younger, you didn’t really see it. Now they’re 12 and 13 when they

were younger teaching to the test, you just thought it was just task oriented

testing As they’re older and you realize that the critical thinking that’s

necessary to be able to learn the material does take a skillset that’s more

than just simply rote, verbatim respond to answers.

Desma Deitz (14:31):

Totally. And it’s also quite siloed. So this is reading class,

this is math class. And so you really can’t learn really complex,

comprehensive, or even scientific method. You need to think broadly in the way

that you’re tackling problems and doing design thinking. And it’s interesting

when I look at the pie chart of where are we implementing our programming, the

bulk I would say now are really in afterschool environments, frankly in out of

school time. So we work with plenty of schools that get it and have really

embedded this type of curriculum into their every day. And it’s kind of the

culture of the school, but that’s the exception. Most schools aren’t operating

like that. So when we try to find that safe space, that effective space where

kids can fail, they’re invited to fail, it’s frequently in an out of school

time after school, summer camp homeschool type environment where we’ve seen the

best results, the best implementations of our program.

Pablo Calvo (15:30):

So let me ask you about your educators. You mentioned that a bit

ago. How are you empowering them in that process? Obviously they have to also

learn the curriculum and then also learn how to implement that curriculum for

that success that you’re talking about. So how are educators prepared?

Leon Hitchens (15:47):

And I would say that that might be a challenge too, because

they’ve gone through that traditional system.

Desma Deitz (15:52):

Absolutely. Well, I mean, it’s not unique to venture lab teacher.

Readiness of anything is the number one indicator of success of whether or not

it’s going to go over, the kids are going to get it, they’re going to have a

great experience, whatever. So that is our guiding start. The teacher has to be

ready and the teacher has to think like an entrepreneur. If they don’t get it,

they’re going to have a really hard time communicating that. And just as

powerful to me as hearing kids’ transformation stories, it’s hearing from the

educators how it is changing the way that they think. Because a lot of our

training, we start personal. We start with asking them about their not school

life and getting them to think about how they take on challenges and the work

that we do. So they come to it really, really having internalized the content

when they finally are sitting in a classroom teaching kids.


But so as Cristal said, she can reach 25 kids in a summer camp and

have a terrific experience, but that’s not our path to scale. We can’t do what

we want to do In that model. We really did take those years of really

understanding what the value was of our program and created more of a train the

trainer professional development curriculum and program that we put all of our

educators through before they are unleashed into the classroom and ready to

teach this content. And we evaluate that training to make sure that we really are

delivering the value that we say. And then that’s really, really grown from, I

mean, our covid pivot was everything’s now going online. And so we’ve kind of

stopped the in-person training and are doing a lot more. But that has been also

allowed us to really fits our business model because able to now really reach

so many more educators in group trainings, which only allows for better

networking and a forum for sharing the ideas that work.


So we really have become venture lab, a thought leader, a subject

matter expert in how to teach this, where we are now plugging in all kinds of

different YMCAs to community-based organizations to school districts that can

lean on us for that technical assistance and the expertise and really meet the

kids where they are in their unique communities. I’ve kind of made this joke

now that if you’ve seen one Venture Lab program, you’ve seen one Venture Lab

program, the implementations are so unique, and that’s part of what we have to

do to really customize and make sure that it fits the environment that our

teachers are in.

Cristal Glangchai (18:20):

And I just wanted to add to that, talking about the difficulty of

teaching teachers who’s gone through this system that’s very black and white.

So when the teachers come into the trainings, a lot of times they don’t always

know why they’re there. They say, oh, my administrator said I had to come. And

we start off by, we always open up with some sort of creative activity. So

creativity play, it kind of loosens you up. It lets you have fun, you’re not

really thinking about right or wrong. So we start with some creativity to

loosen the teachers up. And then we start by asking them, do you think you’re

an entrepreneur? And none of them will raise their hand. And we have to educate

them and show them that they actually are entrepreneurs. They have to be

resourceful in finding stuff for their students as a lot of students will go to

schools and not have pencils, not have paper, not have all the supplies they



So the teachers have to be resourceful in their classroom to get

them their supplies, and they have to innovate on their curriculum and their

lesson plans. What are they going to teach? They’re not necessarily dictated

how and what they’re going to be teaching all the time. So we really have to

educate these teachers and show them that they are entrepreneurs and that they

can do something. So we take them through the same process of coming up with an

idea to doing the market research, to pitching an idea at the end so that at

the end we ask them, are you an entrepreneur? And everyone in the room raises

their hand. And so for me, I think that’s the amazing thing first, showing

teachers that they are entrepreneurs. But then also I think in the way that our

curriculum is developed in our lesson plans, we make it super easy. We know

that teachers are busy. They have so many things to do. They’re staying at

after school till six. They come in at six in the morning. So just really

giving them step-by-step instructions and helping them think through how to

chunk out the lessons is really how we help the teachers be able to teach this

in an effective way.

Pablo Calvo (20:20):

Now with a broad issue, obviously lack of access, teachers at

Venture Lab together can do quite a bit, but you also rely on partners. And how

could potential partners get involved and why are they so important to Venture


Desma Deitz (20:37):

Yes. Well, Christ’s summer camp could not have grown to the

program that we are today, 10 years from now without partners and coming in

various ways, funding support. Absolutely. You talked about barriers. We have

our aim if we really want to diversify the pool of future innovators, well, we

have to go to under-resourced communities, low income areas to make sure this

program is being delivered. So that’s where we do rely on either local partners

that are also interested in infusing support into their backyards and in their

communities or national partners that really do have the platform and the

funding to support that can really help us get there. So always, always funding

support will help us do more with what we’ve got and grow our resources. But

program partners, right? Folks that have connections to school districts, out

of school time programs, people who know their own student in their own

backyard, their own communities that need that support, we really want to

partner with them and find those connections. And we’re doing more of that in

San Antonio again because we know that there is so much potential and there is

a beating heart of entrepreneurship in this town. And so we really want to make

sure that the youth that are coming up find resources and are able to build

that social capital here. So yeah, that’s one of the ways that partners can

come forward is really lending their expertise, lending their dollars and

lending their connections and network to help find places for Venture Lab to be

a solution.

Cristal Glangchai (22:20):

And I was going to ask a question. Do a lot of geekdom people

follow this

Pablo Calvo (22:25):

Podcast or do you know they are now? Oh,

Cristal Glangchai (22:27):


Leon Hitchens (22:28):

Yeah. I would say more and more I’ve been doing geekdom mentoring.

So there’s a little bit of just mentioning it to folks, and then Pablo is doing

the Trinity and just talking to folks, even Charles, the CEOI mentioned the

other day, and he said, I’ll go take a listen.

Cristal Glangchai (22:48):

Well, I was going to say talking about partners, and just to give

a shout out, I mean, our very first venture lab camps were held at Geekdom. Oh,

wow. Gosh. Back in 2013 when it was in the Weston Center. So having that

partnership with geekdom to be able to have our camps there for free and using

mentorship from all the startups, all the founders of the startups would come

in and mentor the kids. That was a great partnership to help get us started.

Pablo Calvo (23:18):

Well, I think geek them and its ecosystem also ultimately benefits

from young people having this mindset. I mean, everyone that is in this

building that has started their business, whatever that business is, first of

all, had to learn how to become an entrepreneur probably late. I mean, from my

experience, I was told when I came out of college, you have to take a job in a

investment or finance or some type of safe job. And I did that for 13 years and

then I went into entrepreneurship. And I would have loved to have learned those

skills much younger because it wasn’t feel like an option to just do your own

thing. Now it’s becoming much more accepted, but it still doesn’t mean that you

come out of school with that skillset. So I do agree with, you’ve

Desma Deitz (24:11):

Spoken like a true mentor. I would say one of the probably

sentiments that I hear most about mentors from mentors and even educators,

gosh, I wish a program like this existed when I was a kid. And that is pure

validation to hear the people that are now championing it are the ones that

really get and understand how valuable this could have been when they were

younger. And something else you said reminded me of the World Economic Forum,

that crazy statistic of 65, that the kids that are in school today, 65% of them

are going to be working in jobs that don’t exist yet. Don’t

Pablo Calvo (24:45):


Desma Deitz (24:46):

Yes. Which is phenomenal when you think about how rapid innovation

things are changing constantly. And so there is no prescription for this is the

type of job for you anymore if there ever. I mean there was, but we now have to

ask kids to think about, imagine their next job and create a new job, create.

And so one of our core curriculums now, one of our core programs that is

growing the most quickly in popularity is our middle school career exploration

and innovation program. And it is because we want to prepare kids to be

imagining new careers, of course, be invested in STEM and be invested in

entrepreneurship and learn what that takes, but also create your next story,

create your next product, create your next service. And so I love that

curriculum for the way that it challenges kids to think beyond. And so that

coupled with I think our mentorship program are two really powerful ways that

we can really inspire kids.

Leon Hitchens (25:47):

Out of curiosity, there’s a big upheaval. AI is coming into the

picture. Does that play some part in all of this too? Are you guys considering

what AI will do to even jobs that I do, I write and I might not write for a

very much longer time if AI can do it much better. Sometimes.

Cristal Glangchai (26:11):

Well, I think before AI was robotics, right? Everyone was saying

robotics, they’re going to take all our jobs. And yes, they are starting to

take more of the jobs. And now with ai, AI is definitely going to take a lot

more jobs. I mean, I know our kids now are using AI to do their homework and to

write papers, and I’ve used it to write stuff. It’s amazing. So I think the

thing that’s really important to note and what we’re teaching kids is basically

to create their own futures. Another stat as well is that in the future, about

50 to 60% of all of the workforce are going to be freelance or independent

contractors. So just teaching kids these skills to be able to work with

technology, to be able to work with ai, but then also to be able to imagine

their own futures to create their own careers using technology as it advances.

I think that’s what’s going to be the benefit for kids, is that they’ll be able

to use the changing technology and not necessarily be afraid of it taking jobs

from them. Yeah,

Desma Deitz (27:11):

I heard from one of my sassier mentors kind of made a joke, said,

you’re not going to lose your job to ai. You’re going to lose your job to the

person who knows how to use AI effectively. Right? True. That’s very true. And

so don’t be scared of it. This is a tool for your tool belt that you are going

to learn how to master. And if this isn’t going to replace your critical

thinking skill, you need to learn how to pull this into your tool set. So yes,

right now, I see a lot of educators really taking that track because they have

to, right? It’s coming, it’s here. And so how do we equip our kids to be able

to use this to their advantage to grow and imagine the future?

Cristal Glangchai (27:48):

I was going to say that reminds me of Covid. Educators didn’t know

how to use Zoom, and then Covid happened, and now they’re all Zoom experts, two

Desma Deitz (27:54):


Pablo Calvo (27:55):

I have a funny Zoom story when that was happening. My youngest was

on a Zoom call and I walk into his room, he’s awake. I walk into his room five

minutes later and he’s completely knocked out, of course. So thank goodness

they’re back in school again. Yes. I don’t think AI would’ve closed that gap.

App Venture Lab now has completed 10 years. Right. And we’re now at the end of

  1. Can you share some of the highlights of your 10th year in operation that

you can share with the audience?

Desma Deitz (28:28):

Yes, yes. I’m so excited. I mean, we’re in January of 2024 and

about to published our impact report for this year. And I’m super excited to

say that we’ve reached more kids and educators and communities than ever. So we

are growing and I think our model is growing with it, and we’re trying to find

even more efficient ways to deliver our program. And for me, operationally,

that’s a win because I know that’s just going to translate to more impact. More

students reached more community served. Our scholarshipping program too, I

think is also growing, which means that the demand is growing and awareness is

growing of how this program can be meaningful in a community. So I see that

that demand and wanting to meet that demand as more proof that we’re going in

the right direction. So scholarships have grown because supporters have grown,

more supporters are joining us.


So that’s made a big difference. And I think I mentioned our

technical assistant and thought leadership. I really see us moving even more to

the forefront and really championing why this is so meaningful and important,

the way that SEL, social Emotional Learning and Castle’s whole movement, why

this is important. It is now embedded in every single school. Every single

school now talks about the soft skills and the social emotional competencies,

and there is no reason that entrepreneurship should not be one of those kind of

frameworks that’s built into every single aspect of the way that we teach. And

there’s all these applications that we’ve developed that our partners have

developed. So I don’t know if it’s a Collaborative, I don’t know what it is,

but I want to be at the front of that with the people that support it and get

it to really kind of continue to proliferate, democratize, make this available

everywhere. And we’re learning all the time. So there’s better ways to do

things, there’s more efficient ways to do things. So we’re staying agile, we’re

living the Intraperitoneal life and trying to innovate all the time.

Cristal Glangchai (30:28):

And I was going to say, just to add to that, I’m just super proud

how 2012, 13, we started out with 25 students in a summer camp in Geekdom. Got

up to about 800 students in a summer camp, and now we’re serving, I don’t know

the exact number, seven

Desma Deitz (30:46):

50,000. I’m going to say that we’re on track to surpass a million

students served by the end of this year. That’s my goal. I’m putting a stake in

the ground, I’m putting a stake in the ground with it. And I got checked it

with my staff just this week we were getting ready to put the finishing touches

on this impact report, and I think we’re getting there, which is massive when

you flashback 10 years ago to what we were doing in this very, this building, I

guess the old geek and building. Yes, yes. It’s so huge. It’s so great. And now

we have alumni that have come out of this program now that we’re hearing from

that are off taking the skills that they learned from this program eight years

ago, nine years ago. So that’s going to be a whole new kind of thing to

celebrate when we start to see the alumni making good as adults.

Leon Hitchens (31:33):

You mentioned an impact report. How are you guys measuring these

outcomes? Is there a numerical number or some sort of job career growth or


Desma Deitz (31:46):

Yeah. Yeah, all of the above. I mean, all of those are leading

indicators to what we are trying to see as a more diverse pipeline of girls,

student of color, leaders in STEM entrepreneurs. I

Leon Hitchens (31:58):

Think we see it around just today. The geekdom of 10 years ago was

vastly different today if you look out there, there’s so much diversity.

Desma Deitz (32:08):

Yeah, well, so 10 years ago, this program was starting here

leading with this intervention to kind of get to that end. So I mentioned

program evaluation earlier. So those outcomes, those sort of direct outcomes of

improving self-confidence, embracing failure, critical problem solving skills,

those types of outcomes are the ones that we measure. So change in pre and post

of the program training evaluations as well, making sure that educators are

leaving with that readiness that I mentioned earlier. If they’re feeling more

ready, there’s a direct connection to the implementation being stronger and

therefore the kids coming out with better outcomes. So yes, we’re really

focused. Then the mindsets and the skills to really guide us and say, if the

kids are developing these durable skills, these 21st century skills, they will

be more successful in their college career, in their post-secondary or as


Cristal Glangchai (33:06):

I was going to say, as far as the direct numbers, we as people

download the curriculum, purchase the curriculum, use the curriculum or get

training. We’re getting the number of teachers and then the teachers are

self-reporting how many students they’re using. So that large number of 750 to

a million that we’re trying to get to is actually reported by the teachers. And

I think the great thing too is that it’s not just in the us. It’s in 150

countries around the world. Impressive. And I think a lot of people don’t know

that, but I’m just super proud and amazed that we’ve been able to come this

far, be able to show this impact and in particular, showing how the students

are increasing their confidence, their interest in starting companies, their

interest in stem.

Desma Deitz (33:53):

It’s actually impressive. I had a call just last week with O Waku

Academy in Rwanda who is implementing this program. They got trained and

they’re sending photos next week. So I’m super excited to hear how their

implementation goes all the way to SAU here in San Antonio. It’s everywhere.

And that movement is because we are able to demonstrate these real applicable

hard changes that people can see in students. I mentioned use the word

transformational earlier, and I really do believe that’s what we’re doing.

Pablo Calvo (34:27):

So the last part that I want to talk about is your mentors.

Clearly mentors are a big part of your ecosystem in terms of supporting the

education for young minds that are training to become Jedi in the future. How

would you give someone that might be interested in joining Venture Lab? And I

guess the question really is how would they go about it? What advice would you

give them and what sorts of things would they expect to gain from joining

Venture Lab?

Desma Deitz (35:01):

Yes, let’s both answer this, but I’ll say one thing first is that,

so we have our mentors, then we have what we are calling lovingly, calling our

subject matter experts. They don’t have youth development experience, but they

are killer marketers or they know how to start business. They’re experts in

their craft, but they don’t really understand what you’re doing as a mentor in

terms of developing a young mind. So I really do treat them a little bit

separately, both super huge and valuable to our program and to our kids’

experiences when they come out of this. But if you are going to take on the

role of being a mentor, it is an exercise in patience and love. You really have

to lead with that empathy because the kids in our program are young. So you’re

dealing with a 9-year-old who is really has a great idea for recycled jewelry,

but she’s got so much to learn.


So you’re not coming in hot and hard with profit margin analysis.

You really are leading with empathy. So I feel like if you want to be a mentor

for Venture Lab, it’s really having that love and patience to really help kids

come out of their shell at their pace and meeting them where they are. But the

subject matter expertise, if you don’t have that in you, but you really have a

lot to share and lend to the world, we host these AMAs where we pair an expert

with a mentor that looks a little bit like them, certainly works in their field

for a 45 minute Zoom a MA. And honestly, when we’re doing those evaluations,

that’s one of the most favorite experiences that our kids come through and say,

I loved those 45 minutes that I had and was able to clean a lot. So don’t be

scared if you’re not ready to be full mentor. There’s definitely ways to plug

in and really lend support to kids who could use it.

Cristal Glangchai (36:54):

Just adding on the topic of mentorship, I think that’s always been

really important to us at Venture Lab. I mean, as a founder of a company,

you’re not a startup of one. We all have mentors that have helped us along the

way. So I’ve really thought it’s been really important to match kids with

mentors who look like them, right? We’ve all heard that phrase, see it to be

it. And so I think when a girl or a student of color comes in and sees someone

that looks like them, they’re like, oh wow, if she can do it, I can do it. Or

if he can do it, I can do it. And so I think that’s been a really key part of

our program, is making sure that we have these mentors that can really spark

this passion and show kids that they can do it too

Pablo Calvo (37:40):

Well as a mentor. So full disclosure, one of the, I think most

rewarding experiences that I’ve had has been being able to learn, frankly, how

to be a better leader. Because I see that the same issues that Young Minds are

going through in terms of starting their journey in entrepreneurship, many of

the same issues that some of our biggest clients have just because they’re not

massively funded and have all of these other projects going on. It’s just that

one in the end, the problem and the core learning that they’re picking up with

that experience is directly applicable. Let me just drop that 12 or 13-year-old

young woman into a startup and they will be able to hang with the best of them.

So I feel like that from my standpoint, is probably the most rewarding. And now

it’s going into three years and the growth has been incredible. And obviously

seeing Desmond join is also amazing. It’s a year now, right?

Desma Deitz (38:47):

Almost about 10 months, I have to say. Shout out to the Boost. Did

you boost you all? You’ve expanded your mentorship to like, I’m roping in my

company, I’m bringing in all the support that you’re really dissecting what our

needs are and pitching in and helping, and it’s making a real difference. And

so we’re grateful to y’all for your Support Partners partnership right here

because it does make a huge difference. We are a small team. We are our own

little startup 10 year startup and constantly moving fast. And so it’s bringing

like-minded partners along for the ride and helping steer the ship sometimes

That has, I think, led to a lot of our successes.

Pablo Calvo (39:28):

Thank you so much. We appreciate the recognition. Not expected,

but we will continue to support as best as we can, and certainly look forward

to seeing Venture Lab’s future growth in 2024. So in San Antonio, if somebody

that wanted to get involved with Venture Lab, what would they do in terms of

getting started?

Desma Deitz (39:49):

Yes. Yes. We would love to have support from, we talked about

mentors, super important companies, businesses that want to get involved and

support us. We actually have an event coming up in April. It’s our annual gala,

third annual, and it’s in Austin, so just a short ride, but it’s called Ready

Set Startup, and it is a really fun celebration. Shark Tank style games, pitch

games are involved. So it’s definitely on the silly side, but it’s the startup

community coming together, established businesses coming together to support

the next generation. So it’s a really fun evening. That’s on April 6th in

Austin, but here in San Antonio, we have a nice growing group of what I’m

calling my little advisory council, and they’re really helping us do more here.

So if you’re interested in learning more and talking to us, I would love for

y’all to reach out to me Adventure Lab and we can add you to the mix.

Leon Hitchens (40:45):

Are you going to it?

Pablo Calvo (40:47):

Of course I’m going to.

Leon Hitchens (40:48):

I had to ask.

Pablo Calvo (40:49):

Yeah. Okay. Well, yeah, of course. I’m going to it. I’m going to

go to it with my bells on and everything. Yeah. You guys need me to dance on

stage. I’m happy to do that too. Oh,

Leon Hitchens (40:57):

Good idea. Perfect.

Desma Deitz (40:58):

Have you been roped in yet to do a pitch game? This might be your

Cristal Glangchai (41:02):

Year, have you? Oh yeah,

Desma Deitz (41:06):

You might. This might be your ear. You might get the tap on the

shoulder at

Leon Hitchens (41:10):

The cocktail hour. Have a Canadian suit, the all denim. I think

you look good in denim. Oh my gosh, I could do that. You got to have something.

There were

Desma Deitz (41:20):

A couple of super interesting outfits last year, outfit that

really stood out. I think there’s some inspiration there. I

Cristal Glangchai (41:25):

Say two years ago Dirk wore, it was like, what animal print suit.

Leon Hitchens (41:33):

It was awesome.


Calvo (41:34):


Prince too. Sounds pretty.

Leon Hitchens (41:35):

It’s pretty jerk. That is a perfect, he’s such a playful

character. I love that.

Pablo Calvo (41:41):

Yes, I can juggle.

Desma Deitz (41:43):


Leon Hitchens (41:44):

Okay. Do what

Desma Deitz (41:44):

If you can weave it into your pitch, that could be we’re going to

put you to

Pablo Calvo (41:47):

Work. Okay. Let me know what you guys need help with him. I’m

happy to do

Desma Deitz (41:50):

It. Yeah. Yeah. Well, arnica, we’re meeting Arnica here in a bit,

and she’ll tell you what’s up. I can’t even keep up. It’s talking about moving

fast. She’s been recruiting panelists to kind of judge the pitch competition

and Yeah, tables. All of the things. All of the things. So we’ll talk with her

a bit, see where we’re

Pablo Calvo (42:10):

At Crunch time, right? It

Desma Deitz (42:12):

Is. We’re a couple months out, but she’s amassed massive team of

people that are supporting. We have a proper planning committee with

subcommittees that are doing procurement of the live auction stuff and our

press committee that’s out there getting us in Trezza and all of these

different outlets. Yeah, so we’ve got a well oiled machine going.

Pablo Calvo (42:34):

Cristal. Desmond, thank you so much for sitting with us today. It

was wonderful to chat with you all and obviously hear about all the great

things that come at Venture Lab.

Desma Deitz (42:43):

Thank you.

Pablo Calvo (42:44):

If you want to learn more about Venture Lab, please visit venture Like subscribe, and I’ll see you in the next episode of The Boost.

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