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youthseattle

When you were a kid, what was the closest you got to learning about business and starting a company? Having a lemonade stand, playing Monopoly, mowing lawns? As fun as that was, many of us didn’t have opportunities to be immersed in the real world experience of it. Nowadays, kids have events like Startup Weekend Youth where they can learn firsthand about building a business in just a few days. I wish this type of event was around when I was a kid!

At these events, attendees (usually middle schoolers through high schoolers) get to experience the energy and learnings that come with building an idea with a team. Of course, some things are changed to make it easier for the family schedule and to maintain their focus, but the core content stays the same. They pitch ideas, form teams with (mostly) strangers, and dive into a weekend of hard work. They’re working towards the same thing as adults do at this type of event – impressing the judges on Sunday evening in three categories: Business Model, Customer Validation, and Execution & Design.

I’ve experienced my fair share of Startup Weekend events from being an Organizer and Facilitator, but I have to say my favorite ones are the Youth events. The activity, eagerness, and excitement is steadfast and inspiring. It’s incredible to see the attendees go from pitching their ideas in front of peers (first time for most), to answering tough questions from the judges!

These opportunities are empowering for all the kids involved. Check out the Youth events happening around the world during Startup Weekend Editions Month:

Campeche, Mexico

Tirana, Albania

Recife, Brazil

Accra, Ghana

If there’s an event near you, sign your children up! They may resist giving up their weekend at first, but afterwards you won’t stop hearing about their new skills and the fun they had.

Or, talk to your school about holding one. We’ve seen two events in Seattle held by schools recently and it’s a great way for students and the local community to interact outside the classrooms and learn about entrepreneurship.


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Kacey Wherley
(@kaceyraewherley) is Marketing Manager at Techstars, located in Seattle. Before joining the Techstars team, Kacey was part of the UP Global team and previously with a cyber security startup in Pittsburgh. She enjoys all things social media and connecting with the community online.