Erin Miller ’16 on creative inspiration and evolution

Erin Miller is a native of the Bay Area who graduated with a degree in advertising from the  S.I. Newhouse School Of Public Communications in 2016. As a member of the Blackstone LaunchPad, Erin developed her entrepreneurial spirit and assisted others in growing their projects from the ground up.  To Erin, being an entrepreneur in any industry is “always about building something.”

Erin was the co-founder of Out There Productions in 2016 which was a vital experience in allowing her to further her entrepreneurial pursuits. The goal of the project was to curate promotional videos and advertise for small businesses and startups. Although this was her own venture, Erin also says that “You don’t necessarily have to have your own venture to be an entrepreneur.”

Leveraging Out There Productions to feed her desire to travel and visit startup communities, Erin and her co-founders took the summer after graduation to tour the company in a former school bus outfitted as a mobile recording studio, meeting startups along the way in interesting places. That led her to her deeper interest in connecting communities through venture creation and an eventual role at the Capital Factory, “the center of gravity” for entrepreneurs in Texas, with operations in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. She was actively engaged with building that ecosystem until she decided to relocate back to her home San Francisco Bay Area.

She is exploring her own innate creativity by writing and illustrating children’s books and expanding her freelance skills in visual and performing arts and filmmaking. She is also director of community at a company called  3 Day Startup which provides entrepreneurship education to underrepresented communities around the world, organize accelerators for women founders and put together fellowships for young people who have finished college and are struggling to get a job. The primary goal is to serve communities that do not have access to tools that build their business that other cities have. For Erin, her motive at 3 Day Startup is to make entrepreneurship education accessible. 

In addition, she remains an active mentor through the LaunchPad, and is a frequent judge for SU student startup competitions. Her connections to the LaunchPad run deep. She was the keynote speaker and cut the ribbon to the LaunchPad when it opened in April 2016 and won $10,000 in the first ever LaunchPad student venture competition, the iPrize, in partnership with the iSchool.

Erin Miller winning the iPrize at LaunchPad opening day in 2016

Erin has an innate desire to frequent those who are “obsessed with things” as she would say. Her interest in passionate people stems from her older brother who was an artist and writer. She was fascinated with how deeply he dove into things he loved, whether it be hobbies or in his studies. He always tested things out before her thus allowing her to follow in her brother’s footsteps in any facet of her life. She recalls a time where he became obsessed with the rapper Eminem and took the initiative to become a rapper. He prospered in rap, winning plenty of competitions and battles. Erin had first-hand experience watching someone close to her grow an obsession and have tangible success from it. For a young Erin Miller, this was a turning point for her to become the passionate and inspirational person that she witnessed her older brother become.

Like her brother, Erin’s obsession was about how people connect with one another. Going from in-person events to virtual events during the pandemic Erin understood the importance of connection amongst people. She then took the initiative to be involved in virtual environments and adapted to virtual community-building.

Erin slowly began to find her niche in the entrepreneurial world which became the ability to build communities. As she said before, being an entrepreneur is “always about building something.” Her enthusiastic and curious personality inevitably helps her to build collective spaces and foster connections amongst people anywhere she is, whether it is a virtual or in-person. 

Her advice for an aspiring entrepreneur is that “You should volunteer for a cause that you’re interested in just to get your foot in the door.” Erin’s philanthropic approach to life has allowed her to prosper in the entrepreneurship industry and beyond. If we can expect anything from Erin in the future, it is that her sympathy coupled with her passion to build will bring people from all walks of life together to create.

Story by Samba Soumare ’24; photo supplied