Building Our Social Enterprise

We are ready to build our foundation as a social enterprise. Are there high school students out there in the Tri-Lakes area interested in joining us on the journey? Do you want to help us with engineering and / or technology products, services or event content? There are no definitive books or surefire nonprofit business models for what we envision as our offerings, but we are okay with this.  Since every student is different and the fields of technology and engineering are broad and diverse, we expect over the years our offerings will be different, broad and diverse. Our internships will provide industry experiences as we define, refine, make and deliver offerings. We look forward to helping spark interests and increase awareness of career opportunities in these fields.

Our intent as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit is to be a social enterprise[1].  We would prefer to diversify our funding options and provide opportunities for students to gain industry experience of bringing products, services and events to market as engineers and technologists. As a nonprofit, we can be entrepreneurial.  We can sell products and services, but our income must go back into our mission.  Our mission is to enable student interests and skills in engineering and technology.  Thus we should focus our products or services to be engineering and / or technology-centered to align with our mission.

As with any business we should also set income goals that align with this social enterprise intent. This year we have set non-zero goals for any products, services or event income that we are able to achieve together.

This summer we will be building a foundation in both our development lifecycle and our offerings. The process will span a year across multiple internships for one product to complete one cycle.  After working the product through the process, students will gain a deep understanding of the roles, process and types of businesses that are involved in bringing an engineering and technology-focused product to market. Exciting times for those coming on board this summer for the journey!

We are starting this summer in Stage 1 of our development lifecycle. In our first two weeks we will brainstorm and collaborate together on what products, services or event content we have an interest in designing and prototyping.  What types of products will we design, prototype, sell? How do we plan to deliver? Who is our target audience of these products? Which way will we choose to manufacture them later in the year?  We will also explore whether we could provide services? What can we offer with our skills?  

We don’t plan to work in isolation and will look at opportunities to broaden our experience. For instance, to get a lay of the industry in Stage 1 we intend to visit with inventors and businesses that deliver products or provide services, large and small.  

On November 20th, 2021, Monumental Impact intends to host a MITEE[2] Exhibition. This event will provide an opportunity for students to showcase projects they have been working on and for supported programs to share their latest creations.  During our brainstorm some students may come up with a project that will focus on entertaining community members at the exhibition.  To add to the fun, we may choose to host activities in which both adults and students can participate such as a DonkeyCar Rally and Colorado Combat Robotics.  The Exhibition will provide an opportunity for some fun, market offerings and inspire others to love engineering and technology as we do!

If you are a high school student in the area interested in engineering and technology, we’d love to have you on our team. Monumental Impact is looking forward to seeing what we come up with together!

More information on applying to our internships can be found here.

Summer Internship Schedule

We know summer schedules can be hectic. Some may have jobs that are helping them with funds while others have family vacation obligations. We have proposed the following 2-7-2 schedule for our summer internships. The work schedule will include a 2-week focused time of 3-4 hours a day as a team at the beginning and end of the internship while we have a 7-week flex period in-between where team members are working remotely. A key to this schedule will be the first work week of June 1st where we work together to define our projects and business expectations.

[1] More about social enterprises can be found in our previous article, How is Monumental Impact a Social Enterprise?.

[2] MITEE stands for Monumental Impact for Technology, Engineering and Entrepreneurship.

Ready to enable student experiences

Core to our mission is to enable student experiences. We now have a space, but how does that impact enabling student experiences, especially in a time of COVID? Well, it impacts our ability to have a home base to enable different types of student experiences even with COVID. We will use our space for: small team competition activities; training before a rotation of desktop equipment to a student’s home and; internships with home-based businesses.

What type of student experiences? With two of our industry areas of technology and engineering we are currently focused on enabling student experiences with fabrication and design capabilities. These two areas can be enabled with some out of the box thinking even with the restrictions of COVID.

For fabrication experiences we will start with 3D Printing and CNC router equipment (examples shown). Supplies include plastic filament, aluminum, lexan, router bits, Dewalt 611 router for these types of experiences.

The design area covers many different disciplines of engineering and graphics, even programming and entrepreneurial marketing. To provide design experiences you need high-end graphics PCs with software licenses for the discipline of interest such as mechanical, electrical, programming and graphics. By providing the equipment and supplies needed for these experiences, students interested in these areas are enabled to explore these career pathways.

We look forward to enabling students interested in learning design-to-fabrication techniques with desktop tools and supplies even with COVID. We also look forward to enabling small team activities for the Bearbotics that is still competing this season during COVID.

With these types of student experiences available to students interested in these fields, we will have enabled them in their journey even during COVID. With a will there’s a way to enable. We just need to think outside of the box. Will you help us enable these student experiences?

Grateful for Our Community of Support

We are very grateful for our Community of Support we have received this year.  Since our founding in January 2020 we have made much progress.  We could not have done it without all those mentioned below.  It does take a village!

Grateful for Our Space

We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the Lewis Palmer School District (D38) on bringing in work-based experiences in technology, engineering and entrepreneurship industries.  With this collaboration is the offer of space in the Grace Best Education Facility, the East Rooms.  We could see this in our vision and welcomed the opportunity to bring Bearbotics into this shared space to provide them a home, a Bear Cave.  Thank you, D38 and Bearbotics, for your collaboration and shared space!

Making It a Home

One of the first things we were able to do with the help of the Bearbotics team was to make the space a home for both of us.  A Painting Party was hosted over a weekend in October.  We received credits and donations from both Home Depot and Ace Hardware that provided us with enough paint to provide a fresh look for all the rooms.  Thank you, Coach Hinkle, for coordinating and planning the event!  Thank you, Home Depot and Ace Hardware, for the paint and supplies!  Thank you to the Bearbotics team, Coaches, Mentors and parents for your time and painting to give the space a fresh look!

The Conversion

But first was to convert this space into a viable option for tools like 3D printers, mills, CNCs and high-end tech for engineering design, graphic design and machine learning.  All with minimum effort and low cost as it is to be a temporary space.  We had a plan for the space, but very limited money.  This is where Matt Middleton, as a Coach to the Bearbotics, but more importantly an expert and manager of construction projects with FlintCo, stepped in to help pull resources together to the changes needed. We are thankful for Colorado Doorways’ donation of a door and frame to offer us a pass thru between the two main areas.  We are thankful for ICI for making an opening and installing the door frame.  We are thankful for Encore Electric for installing power in the workroom and installing EXIT signs to light the way to safety in case of emergency.  Thank you, Matt Middleton, FlintCo, Colorado Doorways, ICI and Encore Electric!!

Furnishing and Equipping the Space

A donation of tables came from Pikes Peak Makerspace with a purchase of chairs from a church provided us the capabilities for meetings and table space to work.  With donations from Techno Chaos like 3D printers, refrigerator, monitors and gadgets the space started to look like a technology workspace with the capabilities for team meetings in-person or remote.  We appreciate all the custom built-ins, mounting of whiteboards, mounting of monitors and a bulletin board by Bearbotics Coach Hinkle.  We know many of the mentors and Coach Middleton were involved in much of this with Coach Hinkle.  Thank you, Techno Chaos, Pikes Peak Makerspace and the Bearbotics Coaches and Mentors, for getting the space furnished and usable for us all!

And how do you expect to support engineering, technology and entrepreneurship without some tech-enablement such as the internet!  Simple Computer Repair in Monument has been readying the space with cable for internet capabilities.  They have been working closely with Force Broadband to offer us internet capabilities for businesses that want to use the space for their projects and for internships.  Thank you, Simple Computer Repair and Force Broadband!  

There is still much to do in equipping the space for engineering and technology projects.  Our goal is to provide industry experiences in these fields for students.  We appreciate the grant from the Monument Hill Foundation and a donation from Mike Hinkle to get us started on this path.  We will be looking into deals over the next few months to make the most of their funds.  Thank you, Monument Hill Foundation and Mike Hinkle, for your funding!

In a Time of COVID

COVID has brought many changes in how things operate.  As an organization that provides shared space, equipment and resources COVID can provide a challenge.  But these challenges are nothing new to makerspaces.  In the Pikes Peak region we are lucky to have maker resources such as the Pikes Peak Makerspace, Manitou Art Center, Pikes Peak Library District’s (PPLD) Library 21c and PPLD’s network of Creative Services.  And now Monumental Impact.  All four of us have been gathering together monthly for Makerspace Collaborations since COVID.  These sessions have helped enable Monumental Impact and formed many of our policies for a safe operating environment, especially in these times of COVID.  Thank you, Pikes Peak Makerspace, Manitou Art Center and PPLD’s Creative Services, for your time, expertise and collaboration!

Providing Experiences

Our mission is to enable and support high school students in technology, engineering and entrepreneurship with experiences and community.  As we have made strides to make our space ‘open for business’ we are grateful to those mentioned above that have gotten us here.  We are also grateful to those below that have been with us in the beginning to collaborate on work-based experiences to offer students.   Thank you, Pikes Peak Business & Education Alliance, D38, Tri-Lakes Cares, Triad Engineering, Colorado Technology Consultants, Techno Chaos, Simple Computer Repair, Hydration & More and the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce.  We are off to a great start!  

We look forward to building the buzz in the air for students to be inspired in career pathways in technology, engineering and entrepreneurship.  Are you a business or mentor that could help us build that buzz?  

How is Monumental Impact a Social Enterprise?

Social impact is the effect an organization’s actions have on the well being of the community. Social Impact Projects are intended to foster more cross-disciplinary collaboration, encourage students to work within the community, and leverage their ability to benefit communities. A Social Enterprise exists to solve a social issue by combining commercial and social goals, but with an emphasis on a social mission (From Colorado Institute for Social Impact). Monumental Impact’s goal is to enable and support high school students with an interest and passion for engineering, technology and entrepreneurship with experiences.

As Monumental Impact starts up, we will foster student’s entrepreneurial interests as an incubator. Some students may jump right in with ideas they would like to offer the community. While other students are just looking for work-based experiences to get their footing outside of the classroom. We welcome both types of student interns!

As the student community capabilities grow, many of these experiences will form patterns of the types of products, services and events that student leadership can manage throughout the year. We look forward to this evolution as a channel for both student experiences and as offerings that benefit their student community, business community, residential community and themselves via self-improvement. In time, the goal is that students are leading all of these products, services and events that provide them experiences…in addition to giving back into their own programs as funds and skills. We look forward to enabling and supporting them in their journey!

Inspire the Engineers, Technologists and Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow

We invite businesses and individuals to join us as we build an environment of support and mentorship for the engineers, technologists and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. There are many ways you can participate and you do not have to be an engineering and technology business. The key driver is providing experiences for students in the Tri-Lakes area so they can explore their interests and passions in engineering, technology or entrepreneurship. Below are some examples of participating:

  1. Contract Us for a Project: Within your business there may be a collection of similar tasks, an implementation or a prototype that you would like to be done. As a student team with mentors, Monumental Impact intends to be poised to help you scope, monitor and complete your project, all while providing engineering or technology experiences to student team members. We intend to have our own capabilities for computer programming and 3D design-to-fabrication. Some examples of projects are:
    • Providing an inventory of equipment, technology or software assets
    • Putting together a training or orientation media or visualization
    • Pulling together data and looking at ways of automating
    • Implementing a website
    • Implementing or troubleshooting a technology, especially in a business
    • Creating CAD representations of a product or parts
    • Implementing and providing demonstrations for an event of yours
    • Executing a basic cyber security check of your technology infrastructure
  2. Job Shadow opportunity: A total of 4 hours that can be separated into two 2-hour sessions. Students shadow an individual in an engineering, technology or entrepreneurial job. Students are not doing the work, but are observers and can gain exposure to different types of jobs.
  3. Join Our Community as a Mentor: From individual projects to being a part of the afterschool programs we support, let us know how much time you are willing to help and what skill sets you are offering. Skill sets we are looking for are project management, engineering (any discipline), technology (hardware & software), product management, customer service, financials and time management.
  4. Sponsor Us: Let us know if you want to sponsor a skill-building program or an event for us to organize and host. We intend to host events to increase awareness of projects we are doing and provide outreach programs to mentor and build skill sets in our younger talent pipeline.

Please contact us, if any of the above interests you or you have questions. We looking forward to growing a community of support for tomorrow’s engineers, technologists and entrepreneurs!

How did Monumental Impact get its Spark?

In the Fall of 2018, the Pikes Peak Business & Education Alliance (PPBEA) introduced their program to Lewis Palmer School District’s (D38) Business Advisory Council. The program entails connecting businesses, schools and students with industry presentations, tours, job shadows, apprenticeships and internships. After providing a technology project internship to two D38 students in the Spring of 2019, it became clearer what was needed to provide this internship. As a home-based business and a small business, it became even more clear that my business would not be able to provide any additional internships until some enabling and supporting capabilities (Figure 1) was available from our local community, the district or PPBEA.

FIGURE 1: Key Management and Capabilities to Enable and Support

In the Figure above I’ve identified many of the key management and capabilities that are needed to enable my business and others in providing engineering and technology internships or projects to high schoolers. If a small business or home-based business is unable to provide these enablers, the business is less likely to take the leap. I’ll even expand on this that…if a student does not have the ability to travel the distance to the businesses with these enablers or an environment that provides these enablers, then with their current school schedules THEY will not take the leap. They will probably default to taking on a close fast food or local job that can provide them one of the other drivers in their life…money.

From a Spark to Monumental Impact

From an internship with two high schoolers interested in technology the spark turned into a WHY statement for Monumental Impact:

To enable and support high school students interested in technology, engineering and entrepreneurship with experiences and community.

But knowing how busy high school students are there would need to be a reason for them of WHY be a part of Monumental Impact? As parents and adults we know it is good for them, but their platters are full with things we know is good for them. Then the realization that if we could combine some of their desires into one, it would connect with some students and empower them to take control of their learning. A key element to Monumental Impact is providing an environment where students are empowered to make decisions as a team and follow through with projects that BOTH provide experiences AND raise funds in their combined areas of interests. A key step in providing this empowerment is giving them the space to make decisions and work on projects together (Figure 2) .

FIGURE 2: Providing empowerment to students for projects of interests

In order to work on projects together they need a physical, dedicated space. A place they can call home and that they have a choice in its direction and projects. A place that would have the capabilities mentioned earlier for engineering and technology projects. A place that they could find mentors and community partners willing to enable and support them on project team demands, technology project demands and engineering project demands. Not that the mentors are doing the work, but enabling and supporting them on how to make decisions and how to determine ways to overcome barriers in a project.

The intent is that products, services and events provided by Monumental Impact to the community will:

  1. Leverage the growing technology, engineering and entrepreneurship skill sets of D38 students,
  2. Raise funds for afterschool programs and the capabilities of their space that enable their technology, engineering and entrepreneurial community and
  3. Increase awareness of the technical capabilities and contributions of students in D38.

Evolution of Our Home

We will be meeting in public spaces until we have a dedicated space. We are currently looking for 3,000 SF for 2020 and 10,000 SF as a long-term home. Once a dedicated space has been found, the space will evolve dependent on funding, sponsorships, grants and donations. We will be working to fill the space with office equipment, technology equipment and a fabrication environment with a broad range of tools and equipment such as CNC machines, mills and 3D printers .

Become a Mentor or Sponsor

We are building a community of individuals and organizations to fill roles as a Board of Directors, mentors, sponsors and community project partners that enable and support students for their project deliveries and their compliance with business and safety regulations. If you or your business would like to be a key role into the efforts of Monumental Impact, THANK YOU for your interest! Please contact us. We look forward to connecting with you and get you engaged with our efforts.

Get The Latest News

If you are interested in receiving news from Monumental Impact, especially as students start announcing their services, please subscribe with us through our contact us page and make sure to select ‘I would like to join your mailing list‘.

We look forward to the journey as we get our first efforts underway and begin building our community partnerships!

Jeanette Breton, Founder of Monumental Impact