APU’s annual product-building event begins with students and alumni learning how to make a difference in the business world

The first Zuventurez presentation of the year. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Cohen)

APU students and alumni joined together to start their new journey with Zuventurez on Sept. 9. This program, designed to create new business products for the upcoming school year, began its 2017-2018 season.

This week’s introduction to the program was created to establish the concept of bringing people’s ideas to life.

While Zuventurez is known as “APU’s Shark Tank,” in actuality, it is a program for people with many different levels of business expertise, including people without any prior experience in business. For them, this program will provide an opportunity to learn more about how to build a business from the ground up.

“You’ll see yourself grow, you’ll see your company grow,” senior film major and founder of M57, last year’s Zuventurez runner-up, Jason Russ said. “It’s just one of the best experiences that I’ve had so far at APU.”

The event began with audience members hearing from previous successful business founders.These founders encouraged students to get out of their comfort zones and grow with their product.

“As far as programs go, this encourages students to really try new things in a safe environment,” APU alumnus and Creative Director and CEO of the interactive, culture-driven business CultureCube, Kyle Griffin said. “I wish this existed when I was at APU.”

Different leaders speaking at the meeting emphasized that teamwork and networking was an incredibly important aspect of this program because of how essential it is in the business world.

The last fifteen minutes were devoted to different students of different majors conversing with each other and making connections that could be useful during their time in Zuventurez.

“You have the opportunity to build not only business relationships, but personal friendships,” Alex Polamero, Zuventurez coach and founder of Nine-Stone Marketing said. “And good business is good relationships.”

Students also heard a sermon from Matt Holguin, the founder of “Working to Give,” a business that thrives on giving back to the communities they reside in. Holguin was able to take his two passions, business and ministry, and combine them to create a business environment with God in the center.

He told students that it can be easy to follow your own business endeavors, but by following God’s plan, your business will be more rewarding spiritually.

“Some of us are waiting for God to show up where we are,” Holguin said. “But I tell you that God is waiting for you to show up where he has placed you.”

This was highly encouraging for students like Jordan Yang, a freshman business management major. Yang said that he hopes to apply to his Zuventurez knowledge to his studies at APU. Holguin’s words were especially intriguing for him because he had never viewed business with a religious mindset.

“It’s really compelling to me and it’s something I’ve never really thought of. They are two concepts that I don’t think about together,” Yang said.

Creative thinkers from a variety of different majors entered this program in hopes of making a difference. While some people came with ideas in mind, others like Yang arrived wishing to help improve a successful team.

Unlike previous years, products will not be competing against each other until next semester. Instead, every Tuesday from 7-9, students will hear from different founders and will learn more about the process of creating a product.

Zuventurez staff members hope that as the first semester progresses, students will be able to learn new skills and make the connections they need in order to create a successful product pitch.

For students interested in Zuventurez that missed the first meeting, next week’s meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Wilden Hall. This session will be focused on defining the problem that your product will help fix.