Two Castlemont High School students presented their dream for a business to an enthusiastic audience earlier this month at Afrotech, the largest African American Tech Conference in the world, held at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Oakland.
Two well-prepped students, coached by Castlemont educator George Arterberry of Castlemont’s newly inaugurated Entrepreneurship Academy, ended up ranking second at the event.
“I am so proud of our students,” said Arterberry. “They did great and these students have a bright future.”
Castlemont’s Hennessy Jimenez (Magnetic Horse Boots), and Linda Galvez (Heavenly Lip Balm) pitched their business dreams in an arena designed to give teens the opportunity of a lifetime. Both 11th graders, Jiminez and Galvez spoke for several minutes about their business plan and request for funding.
“It was a great experience, pitching my footwear,” said Jiminez.
“I really appreciate the opportunity and the help of Mr. Arterberry with my cosmetics business plan,” said Galvez.
“This competition was an extension of what we do on a regular basis in my classroom and that is: develop original and entrepreneurial ideas that are solely the inspiration of the students themselves,” said Arterberry, Castlemont’s Business and Entrepreneurship teacher. “We then spend extensive time working the ideas for content, for viability and ultimately for possible funding.”
“My two students are just a microcosm of the talent pool that we are developing in my entrepreneurship classes. As we expand our entrepreneurship academy, we will begin with computer coding in the ninth grade along with a steady diet of entrepreneurship, business and presentation skills combined with math and English tutoring. This turn-key program will empower hundreds of students. I simply see myself as having a petri dish full of diamonds (students) only lacking the polishing.”
Arterberry has worked with hundreds of students on their business ideas, business plans, and public speaking. “In every class session, I call on students to perform, express themselves and get comfortable speaking before an audience. These are skills that will take their lives to the next level,” he said.
Arterberry recalls the time when he was one of the few Black people presenting his business ideas in Silicon Valley.
“A forum like Afrotech is long overdue and it so amazing to be able to help fill the industry with more Black and Brown students – our future leaders,” he said.
Castlemont Principal Michael Scott was equally proud of the students and looks forward to showcasing well-developed talent at the high school. “Afrotech is an amazing space to feature our students,” said Scott. “The possibilities are endless.”
“George brings a recognized incisive business acumen to entrepreneurs. His passion, experience and knowledge can help any student grow their idea and scale their business,” said Scott.
Earlier in his career. Arterberry developed a web browser-based California software company that provided an electronic medical records and practice management solution for physician practices, clinics, and hospitals. He was an early guest lecturer to the medical organization (NMA), concerning EMR technology and implementation.