Austin Entrepreneur New Orleans

Austin’s story

How did you get involved with Venture for America (VFA)? I actually saw a tweet about VFA from someone in my network. I checked it out and decided to apply to be a Fellow as it seemed like a meaningful way to plug into the startup world and a unique community with different values and ideas than Silicon Valley and the other usual suspects.

“Without VFA, I would never have made itback to Louisiana after graduation.”

What problems is VFA trying to solve and how do you see yourself as part of the solution? I see VFA as solving two main problems: providing a pipeline of young, entrepreneurial talent to cities that don’t usually attract it and giving underrepresented groups an opportunity to enter the world of entrepreneurship. I try to do my part by investing in the city. I love learning its history and culture and try to carry that with me into my work and life. I feel like an ambassador for an amazing place.

Austin finds inspiration to translate ideas into action.

Why did you pursue an entrepreneurial career path? I studied Mass Media Arts and Economics at the University of Georgia. I’ve been told it’s a strange combination, but I think it pushed me to constantly switch between analytical and creative thinking. I also interned with a startup after freshman year that really opened my eyes to what was out there. I loved bringing ideas into reality. Entrepreneurship, or something like it, seemed like a good fit.

What kind of impact are you making with 4.0 Schools? 4.0 Schools works with early-stage education entrepreneurs from across the country to help them realize their ideas. We don’t take equity as a non-profit, which gives us the chance to take bets on people that want to make a difference for kids, parents, teachers, and schools. I help run Launch, our three-month accelerator program. We get to see our impact through our people as they grow their ventures, connect to others in our community, and become leaders in education.

If not for VFA, would you have pursued a career in New Orleans after graduation? I grew up in Baton Rouge, LA. Given my interests, I was never sure if my career would bring me back to my home state. I’m so glad it did – New Orleans is amazing, buzzing with pride and hope for the future. It’s great to be a part of a place that has such a distinct personality with deep roots while also striving so much for progress.

Without VFA, I never would have made it back to Louisiana after graduation. I didn’t see a place for myself in New Orleans until VFA gave me a peek into the startup scene.

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