By KIM ESTES, Four Points News
A local father-of-three, businessman and a lecturer at the University of Texas has launched a youth entrepreneurship program and camp to fulfill a pledge to himself after his wife passed after battling cancer.
Alex Gabbi, a Glenlake resident, said, “When my wife passed away of cancer two years ago, I resolved to change careers and focus on activities that could have a high impact on the community.”
Gabbi co-founded Global Innovation Village to, in part, increase entrepreneurship within local communities. He established GIV with Sreenivasa Gorti in April 2014. Gabbi is focused primarily on the Youth Entrepreneurship Program academy and GIV Launch program, while Gorti is focused mostly on GIV’s consulting business.
Teaching is Gabbi’s primary passion, and the “love of his life” was his wife, Heather, who died at age 43 after a difficult battle with ovarian cancer, he said.
Both husband and wife were employed in the high-tech industry, which had “too many memories,” so Gabbi turned his attention to his lifelong goal of teaching. “Teaching also allows me to be more available for my kids,” Gabbi said. He is the father of 14-year-old Nico, 11-year-old Maya, and 5-year-old Luca.
In his 20-year professional career, Gabbi has planned, funded and successfully launched five start-ups in consulting, enterprise software, hardware and consumer product spaces. He has also led a major corporate transformation project at a Fortune 150 company. He has more than 10 years of instructional experience in entrepreneurship, business operations and strategy and marketing at McCombs.
He also authored “The Journey”, the story of his family’s experience with cancer and recovery from the death of his wife.
This spring, Gabbi and Gorit launched Youth Entrepreneurship Program, the after school academy that offers an entrepreneurship program to fifth through ninth graders. “I don’t think you’re ever too young to start a business,” he said.
Over the past few weeks, Gabbi inaugurated Global Innovation Village or GIV Launch, a camp featuring a weeklong curriculum in entrepreneurship for fifth through twelfth graders. There were two sessions of GIV Launch.
GIV Launch students learned how to generate good ideas for a business. “There is a misconception that to be an entrepreneur you have to be an ‘idea person’. A remarkably low percentage of students come in with an idea,” he said. Practical exercises helped generate possibilities during camp.
Students were taught to identify revenue streams, calculate financing requirements, define an execution plan, and experience what it takes to pitch to a “shark tank” of investors.
GIV Launch curriculum is a modified version of instructional material Gabbi uses as a lecturer for the University of Texas McCombs School of Business. “It is a lot of what I teach at UT, but I’m not drilling down into it. The way I deliver the information varies between grade levels too. For fifth and sixth grades, I try to make it more fun and entertaining,” Gabbi said.
In August, GIV will host an open competition in which students can present their new business ideas to a panel of judges, who will award $1,000 in cash to the team or individual with the best new business pitch.
The GIV Launch Competition is open to both GIV Launch and Youth Entrepreneurship Program students. Also, students in grades five through 12 who have not been in either program, but who are interested in participating are welcome. The Competition requires a $50 registration fee, except for GIV Launch and YEP students, for whom the fee is waived. The GIV Launch Competition is scheduled for August 21.