When I was younger, I experienced the Girl Scouts program like many girls have. I made it to the “Juniors” level before retiring my cookie-selling skills. I learned a lot through the program and had a few fun summers at camp. But I also remember begging my way out of the sewing activity, because after many failed attempts at it, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to learn or what I was good at.
Now, the Girl Scouts are adding new activities and development paths to their programs, creating incredible opportunities for girls with desires and skills of all types. There are four focus areas that form the foundation of the overall program and the Girl Scouts Leadership Experience: STEM, Outdoors, Life Skills, and Entrepreneurship.
I got to experience this entrepreneurship focus firsthand helping out as Facilitator at the first Startup Weekend with the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles earlier this year. This event in Los Angeles had 26 girls come together over a weekend to build companies. The girls formed six teams to work on products in all types of industries, work with mentors, and pitch to judges at the end.
When I told people about Startup Weekend joining forces with the Girl Scouts for this event, everyone had the same reaction: It makes so much sense. What other group is able to sell cookies to anyone, anywhere? To have a country waiting and counting down to when their product is available? The hustle of selling all those boxes, tracking orders, working with others, and delivering to customers is essential block building for a future in entrepreneurship.
By the end of the Startup Weekend event in Los Angeles, the judges were floored with the progress the girls had made. They perfected the pitches, worked strongly together as teams, and some even had app mock-ups with branding, logo color guides, and more (thanks to local sponsor Marvel App!) They understood the need for having a real, paying customer, not just the idea of one, the cost to run a company, and what revenue looks like.
These are the type of events we need to help ensure plenty of young women are ready for roles where it seems to be tough to find them currently: engineering, tech leadership, CEOs and founder roles.
It’s this type of event and opportunity I wish I had when I was younger. While our weekends were filled with many activities, this type of learning and creating didn’t exist. Our closest form of this activity was our self-taught lemonade stand in the yard and balancing town hall budgets in SimCity.
Now is the time to ensure our schools, after-school groups, weekend activities, and programs like the Girl Scouts have these types of activities. During my day to day, I get discouraged witnessing the conversations and struggles with finding female founders or women in engineering roles. But every time I help with one of these youth events, I walk away inspired and excited knowing that the future is bright, and that future is filled with amazing young women ready to take on technology and entrepreneurship.
Let’s build a future filled to the brim with strong female entrepreneurs.
These events are essential for building a stronger future filled with women as founders, engineers, and developing our most important industries. Do your local schools and youth groups have activities building skills in these areas? Are you involved with a Girl Scouts chapter in your area? Let’s connect to see how we can create more events like this everywhere.
For more information about Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and full photos from the event, check out their Facebook page.
We want Youth Startup Weekend to be as impactful, educational and fun as possible! We believe that the first step to making that happen is to make sure you’re extra prepared before you even come in.
You don’t need to come with a business already created.
In fact, you’re not allowed to! Come with an idea of a problem you’d like to solve, how you might solve it and the type of team you would need to do this! Our facilitator walks you through the ideation phase and pitching process, so no prep work is necessary!
There are some really awesome mentors, talk to them!
We will have mentors walking around throughout the entire event. They are entrepreneurs, small business owners, and team members from huge companies! Expect to chat with industry experts from companies like Uber, GoDaddy, Nextiva, and so many more!! If you want to bring questions to ask them, do it. These mentors are here to help you both over the weekend and with your future entrepreneurial endeavors.
The best team isn’t always a team of your friends
We can’t stress this one enough. We’ve seen teams form because they’re best friends, but they aren’t all interested in putting in the hard work or passionate about the business. Make sure that you form a team that seems to get along and each team member can contribute something unique.
We use scrum boards for efficiency
They look like this ^. We have them formatted for you and ready to go, but these help mentors know what’s going on. We’ll show you how to use them at the event.
It’s not about winning
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, SO LISTEN CLOSE. This event is not about winning. It’s about taking an idea and creating something from it. It’s about doing that rapidly, managing your time well, and getting to know some awesome fellow entrepreneurs in the process. Come with that mindset and you’ll move mountains.
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:
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.
54 hours later and it’s all over.
We’ve had ideas pitched, teams formed, brain dumped, customers developed, validations made, leads generated, sales made, revenue raised, mentorship recieved, and food consumed.
No doubt the judges had their jobs cut out for them but after all said and done here are the winners at Startup Weekend Dublin – July 2015 edition.
There was special mention to team FitMyBits for their solution to helping women get the right fit for bras. There were the only team to have made sales over the weekend to the tune of Euro 125.00 from 5 customers.
In 3rd place – Comrade, an app to help find friends in a new city
Runner up, PhotoCAD – a simple app helps you convert images taken with your smartphone camera into CAD files
And the winners of the July 2015 edition of Startup Weekend Dublin is….Book-E, a digital platform that enables users to bet on e-sports.
Perhaps more impressive is that the team was made up of really young members – 16 & 17 year old with the pitch presented by the former. The team won a trip to Berlin for a large hackathon courtesy of @WelcomeStartup – DCU Ryan Academy.
Congratulations to all the teams and it was really a close one and many thanks to all who made this happen – volunteers, organizer, mentors, judges, sponsors, facilitator, host, and guests.
Till next time.
The Sunday night audience of the recent Startup Weekend Seattle Girls event was different than the usual crowd. It was full of parents, young siblings, and community members beaming with pride and excitement to see the girls’ final demos. This was the final day of a Startup Weekend created just for girls ages 10-15. The event was held at Lake Washington Girls Middle School, and was a first of its kind event focused on young women and showing them the possibilities of Startup Weekend and the world of entrepreneurship.
After the final pitches got started, it was clear how hard they all worked over the weekend. The presentations went smoothly and each girl on each team spoke about a different part of their new app or website. And did I mention how excited the parents were? A Dad’s celebration scream almost scared me right out of my seat when he found out his daughter’s team won!
One of my favorite parts of the day was when the girls were asked, “what did you learn over the weekend?” Their responses were all things I wish I had learned in middle school:
- revenue streams
- task management
- working under time pressure
- how to build a website
While the event was wrapping up and the girls were celebrating, I got the opportunity to speak to a parent of one of the attendees, Jeff Sprung of Seattle. One of the awesome parts of Editions Month is hearing from new audiences and demographics – so I wanted to hear his story behind his daughter being involved and hear a parent’s perspective on events like this:
I asked about the motivation behind signing their daughter up for Startup Weekend Girls. It’s a strong message and inspiration for more events like this to happen:
“What’s still holding women back from reaching the very highest levels of professional America today are stereotypes and expectations. These limitations will continue to erode, and Startup Girls propels that erosion. As parents of a girl, we try to kickstart this change by teaching our daughter to reject stereotypes and expectations about who’s in charge and who can be in charge, to take risks and fail and get up and be willing to take risks again, to get in the face of people who deny her opportunity. Giving our daughter the opportunity to learn from experts how to start up a company fits this philosophy perfectly.”
Events with young ages like this need parental support. I talked to him about why experiences like this are important for girls from the parents’ point of view:
“Our economy, our government, and our communities benefit from the unique contributions women make. We want to teach our daughter that she can achieve whatever she wants, and whatever her male classmates can achieve. Given that women in our country earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man, we still have a lot of work to do. I think Startup Girls can be part of the solution.”
Overall, the weekend went well and we’re thrilled to hear about learning new skills:
“My daughter worked hard and intensely to achieve what she and her team did over the weekend. This resulted in impressive accomplishments: a great concept, financial modeling, a website, an app. I think it was eye-opening for her to see the incredibly hard work that goes into starting a new company. My wife and I were blown away by what these middle schools girls could accomplish over a weekend. We were particularly impressed by this generation’s adeptness with technology and new software applications. It far exceeds the skills of their parents’ generation!”
Here are the final teams from the weekend, great job everyone!
1st place – Warefair
An app to guide customers to clothing retailers that practice ethical and sustainable business choices.
2nd place – Chore Hub
Helping connect neighbors through exchanging chores, easy solution to finding help for the chores you dislike!
3rd place – Monster Cupcakes
An app and website to create custom cupcakes and have them delivered to your door, pick out the flavor, frosting, decorations, etc!
Most Passionate – Pit Souls
A website dedicated to changing the people’s perception of pitbull dogs, inspired by one of the team member’s own dog.
Most Ambitious – Open Door
A website aimed at helping the homeless get back on their feet with a network of resources available online and in their local community.
For more information on this event and the organizing team, please visit: http://www.up.co/communities/usa/seattle/startup-weekend/5279
Interested in organizing a Startup Weekend for Girls or Youth? Learn more about bringing it to your community.
Startup Weekend Tampa Youth allows students to learn and practice the foundational skills of entrepreneurship while collaborating to reach a common goal, taking a business from idea to reality. It sheds a spotlight on the creativity we have right here in our community from an often overlooked source: KIDS. The youth here in Tampa Bay are filled with great ideas and if we can take a page from their book and learn a bit from them along the way, we will have done our job by creating and encouraging the kids’ appetites for entrepreneurship.
The Startup Weekend Tampa Youth program is one of the first in the area to embrace this idea of collaboration and engages students in meaningful conversation around the topic of entrepreneurship. It reinforces collaboration, communication and problem solving during the weekend long event. We held our first event in September of 2014, and after the amazing experiences that our team and attendees shared; we knew it had to happen again in the community. One of the coolest experiences from our first event was how well students who barely knew each other formed teams around ideas they felt passionate about to create really unique pitches by the end of the weekend. Yes this happens at every Startup Weekend on Friday night – but seeing kids doing it felt extra special. They got over any fears they had and focused on the ideas and new teammates around them.
As an elementary school teacher who was introduced to Startup Weekend back in 2010, I have watched participants conjure up the courage to stand up in front of a room full of peers to pitch an idea they believed in. When we heard there was an editions event that focused on bringing this concept to kids, I KNEW I had to be involved on a bigger scale. By teaming with my fellow co-organizers, made up of a mix of educators and entrepreneurs, we found the perfect balance to engaging our younger audience while teaching about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Watching the kids take on roles that we normally see adults struggle with throughout the ups and downs of a Startup Weekend event and make great things happen along the way had to be the coolest part of all.
Some students in our area have access to entrepreneurship and resources, but we have made it our goal to find a way to incorporate a variety of learners and tap into their creative juices. By bringing entrepreneurship to the forefront of their academic experience, we are able to plant the seed in those who are yearning to evolve and foster their creative passions, regardless of demographic, background, or interest. Starting with students who are younger and sharing our knowledge from our experiences will allow them to be less limited in their thought barriers and provide them the big vision ideas they need to grow and mature into young adults. Exposing them to these ideas when they are young will exponentially impact our community as they begin to create and build these novel ideas.
This is the main reason we chose to tap into this unique demographic here in Tampa Bay. With Tampa emerging as a forefront for tech and entrepreneurship, we want our youth to be part of this evolution by helping guide them in becoming leaders of their generations. It was exhilarating to see budding “youthpreneurs” as we coined them, come to the table with legitimate problems that they had a solution for.
One of our former participants designed an app to help them keep track of how long the bus would take to arrive at their location. This is a problem for kids in our area because Florida gets ridiculously hot during the summers and the weather can be unpredictable during the winters. This app would allow kids to know exactly when to head to their bus stop, thus eliminating the awful and uncomfortable wait time they currently have to endure.
The group seen above was working on creating a robotic arm that would help lift heavier objects, thus eliminating the need for assistance with carrying things like groceries and other heavy loads. Working with the Youth Edition can be so rewarding when you see it in action. It’s moments like this that motivate us to organize these events.
When we began the process of organizing these events, our goal was never to make all attendees become entrepreneurs by the end of the weekend. We hoped to see kids become comfortable with other kids who had similar interests and collaborate as they worked through their different problems. We knew we had done something right when students AND parents left wanting more. Right after the final pitches, a Dad from the audience came up and congratulated our team on a job well done. Additionally, he offered to serve as a local sponsor for our next event, which we had not even discussed yet. Seeing support from the parents in the community gave us extra motivation to keep holding this type of event. It gave extra validation that it is a valuable program to families and the community.
Tristan Crawford, a thirteen year old and one of our winners at our first Startup Weekend Youth event said it best: “If you have a business idea and need help with understanding how to start a business, then I know the Startup Weekend Youth course will teach you how to bring your product or business idea to market, and provide you with the support you need after the course. I encourage you to go to the Startup Weekend Youth event when it comes to your town. It is a great learning experience. You will not be disappointed!”
They say “it takes a village to raise a child,” and we are proud to be a part of this village by teaching kids what is truly possible in this world.
– Nicholas Catania
Startup Weekend Tampa Youth Organizer
Parabéns para todos os participantes! Espero que tenham tido um final de semana incrível. Para continuarem se inspirando recomendamos dois conteúdos incríveis da Academia Sebrae:
- Entrevista com Biel Baum, que com 12 anos já é um empreendedor em série.
- A história da Geórgia, que com 18 anos ganhou um concurso para jovens empreendedores de Harvard!
In our last post, we told you Triangle Startup Weekend Women is partnering with Marbles Kids Museum. Marbles is, “a hands-on, minds-on museum that inspires imagination, discovery and learning through extraordinary adventures in play and larger-than-life IMAX experiences.”
We’re pretty excited about the partnership and think you will be too. What this partnership means is that, while you innovate at TSW Women, your kid(s) can innovate at Marbles…for FREE! Yes, you heard us right, we’ve got FREE passes for your kids to go to Marbles this weekend. Not registered yet? Here’s what you’ll get if you sign up today:
- Two adult passes per day (Saturday 10/11 and Sunday 10/12)
- Five kids passes per day (Saturday 10/11 and Sunday 10/12)
When you register, be sure to also register for the Marbles passes. If you’ve already registered and didn’t sign up for the passes, but want to sign up, email us and we’ll get you squared away.
So sign up today for TSW Women and let your spouse, partner, friend or relative take your kid(s) to Marbles. We bet your whole family will be happy with your decision to come to TSW Women!
(Marbles is located at 201 East Hargett Street. Raleigh, NC 27601)
This post was written by Catherine Uong, Co-Founder of Doozey Game, Operations Intern at DevBootcamp, and Program Coordinator of USC Stevens Center for Innovation.
On April 11, Startup Weekend Education Mountain View will be turning the spotlight on the people who know most about schools – the kids! New York City launched this youth-centered format earlier this year, but for the first time, the Bay Area will be creating a space for both middle school kids and adults to collaborate and bring kid-centric ideas about education to life!
Curious as to why it’s important to involve kids in the education innovation process, I went ahead and interviewed Chris Chiang, the Lead Organizer for the event, a history teacher and technologist at Sacred Heart Middle School, and a School Board Trustee for the Mountain View Whisman School District.
Why is it important to give middle school kids the opportunity to play a leading role in the 54-hour event?
After my experience at participating in Startup Weekend Education, I wanted students to get involved too. Students often find startups and technology intimidating. So I felt it was the right time to get kids introduced to the space. Many kids have lived around these tech companies their whole lives but have no idea how they work. By letting them participate in a Startup Weekend Education, we can give kids a window into this world.
I think it’s important to have youth at the center of this event, because the student-teacher relationship is a reciprocal relationship. We can help introduce kids to STEM and entrepreneurship, but also help introduce adults to what kids know about schools.
Also, it’s more clear than ever that kids want to do something like this. For our event, we capped our student tickets at 60, but we sold out of those tickets in less than 48 hours. It’s a sign that kids want to get actively involved in building solutions for education!
In startups, we often talk about the user and user validation. Who knows schools better than students? I think the tech community can really benefit from having the student voice present to answer the question: “What would kids do?” By having the kids create the educational solutions that they would use, I think it will be a meaningful learning experience for everyone involved.
How were middle schoolers recruited for the event? And why middle schoolers, instead of high schoolers?
Many of our principals and educators reached out to kids at their schools to participate in the event. We wanted to get the kids that didn’t put limits on themselves yet. High schoolers often times have pre-existing notions, as many adults do, that may inhibit how “out-of-the-box” they’re willing to think. So we decided to reach out to middle schoolers, an age group we thought would be more apt to really thinking creatively.
What is your vision for how your event will impact the greater Startup Weekend Education community?
A model has not yet been created for getting kids involved at Startup Weekend Education, so we would like to test things out and see what works for both kids and adults. Eventually, I would love to see the educational community outside of Mountain View utilize this model that we create.
Find Out How It Goes
You can get play-by-play updates on Chris’s kid-focused Startup Weekend Education event taking place this weekend by following the action on Twitter.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Ultra Pool
- Engine Oven
- Zone In
Check out this video highlighting Startup Saturday Kids!