Over the last several years, there’ve been a number of movies and TV shows about startup companies—think “Shark Tank”, “The Social Network”, “Silicon Valley.” But a new documentary takes a slightly different approach. “Generation StartUp” focuses on half a dozen young adults straight out of college—four men, two women. Under the guidance of a nonprofit called Venture for America, they go to work in startups that they’ve either founded themselves or that were founded by people just a few years older than they are.
Cheryl Miller Houser is the film’s co-director and an entrepreneur herself. She started her own production company. She says the route these kids are taking is very different from the typical approach of going to business school to become an entrepreneur. “I don’t know if you can learn entrepreneurship academically. I think you just have to experience it. You just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
And she says these graduates are taking the plunge at a time when they’re wrestling with even bigger issues—like who they want to be professionally. “Up until we graduate from college, everything is prescribed for us–elementary school, middle school, high school, college. Then you come out of college and you kind of have to figure it all out. And here were kids who not only were jumping into the void of life after college, but even more so this heightened experience of starting companies or joining small startups.”
KCRW spoke with Cheryl Miller Hauser about the film.