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Kids have no limits when it comes to thinking outside the box. A swimming pool made of rubber? An oven in your car? How about a body-pillow that massages you?

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Along with help from MOZ and Started in Seattle, I was able to organize a one-of-a-kind Startup Weekend (SW) on Saturday, Dec. 7th., deemed “Startup Saturday.”

Twenty middle-schoolers showed up to the one-day SW event at Giaudrone Middle School, prepared with pitches in hand. Like their elder entrepreneurial counterparts, they articulated their business ideas to a room full of their peers, and then to a panel of judges.

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The judges included: Zeek Edmond, Giaudrone’s principal; Michael Gilbert, a Giaudrone teacher; Kathleen Cooper, a business writer with The News Tribune in Tacoma; and Andrew McDonald, executive vice president of Columbia Bank.

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My mother, Roselee Sauser, is a teacher at Giaudrone, and played an integral part in organizing the event on behalf of the students. Leading up to Startup Saturday, she hosted several after-school crash courses on startups, prototype brainstorming, and pitching. The event demonstrated the importance of good ideas, but emphasized the idea that success comes from teamwork and commitment – evidenced by a student who was too shy to pitch initially, but eventually won first place at Startup Saturday.

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Above all, the event emphasized that sometimes it’s not so much about the idea as it is about the team and the passion — as a young girl who was too shy to pitch initially ended up winning First Place at Startup Weekend Kids.

1st Place | Comfort Pillow; a customizable body-pillow that you can control from your smart phone. Adjust different massage and heat levels, different colors and patterns, and choose music based on your mood.

2nd Place | Help Me Out; an app that “helps you out”! Targeted towards the blind, this app will troubleshoot issues that disabled people face on a daily basis.

Runner-ups:

  • Ultra Pool
  • Engine Oven
  • Zone In
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Check out this video highlighting Startup Saturday Kids!



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