Becoming an Alchemist through teaching Entrepreneurship

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LevelUp Entreprneurial Lessons – Sponsored By

LevelUp launched as a pilot program to teach young people from low-income and marginalized communities how to become successful entrepreneurs.

Oftentimes we glorify entrepreneurialism as a “God-given gift” that not everyone has. Because of this belief, many don’t pursue their dreams and passions. Our goal was to squash this misconception. Could we take talented students who had not grown up around privilege and get them to compete on a world-class level? Could we transform not only their lives but the lives around them? Could we change poverty-stricken communities by sparking entrepreneurship from a young age?

We knew we were facing an uphill battle. Our peers wished us well. But they also warned us not be too disappointed if the students didn’t become entrepreneurs. We were told it was good enough that they would gain leadership and soft skills that would take them far in life.

But, we figured, why create something that is just “good enough”? Why not create something that matters and gets to the heart of the problem?

At each turn in our own lives, my partner Koy and I have been told that we cannot or that something seems impossible. Yet, somehow, we keep breaking belief barriers that hold others back. What makes us different? We concluded that it’s our unwillingness to take no for an answer. When we lacked resources, we are still resourceful.  

That is when it hit us: The concept underlying LevelUp would be that all problems are opportunities. Just because someone has not solved a problem yet does not mean it can’t be solved. Entrepreneurs align their talents, skills and passion to the problems they want to have an impact on.

We teach out students that we can always make more money. Once you understand the principle of creating value and packaging that value to sell to your customers, you will never go without. However, there are bigger questions we should be asking: “Is my time worth solving this problem? And if I dedicate my time and talents to solve this problem, is money the only reward at the end of the journey?”

By focusing our students on a much deeper vein of purpose and passion, we have opened a whole new world for them. They now look at the world in curiosity. They talk about the companies they will start to solve various issues and how they will make a difference. This, I think, is one of the secret sauces in our approach in teaching entrepreneurship.



Our program is about more than skills. It’s about substance, More than teaching theory, it’s trials and experiential training. When we shared this vision with, they believed in our purpose. They believed in our desire to create a new wave of leaders, ones focused on human fulfillment through conscious entrepreneurship. This is what we do at the LevelUp Institute: We create the next generation of change-makers.


The LevelUp Institute focuses on creating the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs. The intensive and experiential 24-week program works with low income college students who are first in their family to attend higher education, and helps them create high tech social enterprises. For more information check out

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