Forbes scholarship offers three students the chance to attend summit for free

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Photo Credit: Barb Daly | Daily Texan Staff

Although each one defines entrepreneurship differently, Elvin Galarza, Hamza Abdallah and Amerison Shrestha all have something in common: they were recently selected to be a Forbes 30 Under 30 scholar.

In an effort to diversify attendees, Forbes invites select scholars to attend the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Detroit from October 27 through 30. While each applicant must pay for their own lodging and travel expenses, Forbes provides the typically $600 ticket to scholars for free.

With interactive sessions, panelists and even a music festival, the summit provides students with the chance to listen to up-and-coming entrepreneurs and connect with their like-minded peers.

“They have a lot of speakers, celebrities, innovators, entrepreneurs,” finance sophomore Abdallah said. “It’s an entrepreneurial exhibit on steroids.”

However, students must first find a way to make their application stand out among a sea of others striving to do the same.

“For the application, I went out of my way to be a little bit disruptive,” Abdallah said. “There’s only two essay responses, but I decided to record a video, in hopes to humanize myself and explain why entrepreneurship is special to me and how it plays into my life.”

All three students heard about the program from others in the field. Upon applying, business sophomore Shrestha said he thought getting in wasn’t realistic.

“I was sure it was going to be another rejection, so I applied just to apply,” Shrestha said. “A couple of weeks ago, they told me that I get to go to Detroit, and I was super happy.”

Another common thread for all three applicants is their belief that a defining part of entrepreneurship is using it to create a positive impact within their communities.

Abdallah defines entrepreneurship specifically as the ability to drive and create positive impact. For Shrestha it means contributing to the world by fixing a problem.

As an electrical and computer engineering senior, Galarza sees entrepreneurship through the lense of its application to technology.

“I really try and bring social good into tech and business,” Galarza said. “Being an activist on climate justice and environmental justice, it’s more than just recycling. Being involved in tech is this struggle between trying to make money and also trying not to leave a bad footprint, but a good one.”

Looking forward to meeting the political leaders and social good activists of the future, Galarza said his focus at the summit will be on his peers, not on big name attendees.

“For me, success is trying to help the community, especially underserved and underrepresented ones,” Galarza said. “So if that’s a celebrity or somebody from a community college or someone not in college, whatever spectrum it is, I’d rather connect with them.”

With over 1,000 students selected into the scholars program, the summit will feature multiple networking events for scholars to connect.

“What I am most excited about is just being in a like-minded community and amongst other entrepreneurs, innovators, founders,” Abdallah said. “Being around like-minded people will not only help me learn from them but also cultivate more innovation and creativity.”