Upstarts: Empowering Youth to Start Businesses and Change the World
The next generation of tech entrepreneurs are already at work, tinkering and experimenting and thinking, and the ideas blooming in their young minds are all the brilliant colors of the rainbow.
What programs, like StartUp Weekend, are designed to bring these young entrepreneurs the networks, mentors, and the resources they need to change the world? Google for Entrepreneurs is providing financial assistance and tools for startups who embrace diversity and for organizations developing coworking spaces, community hubs they call campuses. The program is global, with campuses in Madrid, San Paolo, Tel Aviv, London, Warsaw, and Seoul. The program focuses on community partnerships that provide local mentorship, support, and education.
The startups include a number of national and regional programs that focus on increasing opportunity for members of society who do not have equal access to community resources. Many of the startups participating are tech hubs; some are accelerators for Latino entrepreneurs or programs working to increase women’s access to the startup world. The participating startup programs are blooming around the world, from India to Australia to Dubai to Detroit. The startup community supported by Google for Entrepreneurs also have several programs designed specifically for children and older adults. Code for America and Startup Weekend have branches designed specially for children and teens, and Aging 2.0 focuses on innovative technologies that will have an impact on the global aging population.
Google for Entrepreneurs is global in reach and inclusive in focus, but it is structured for cities, and for participants who have already taken the first steps into the tech world. Teens for Tech is a structured program associated with the FounderSpace business incubator that works with young entrepreneurs from 13 to 19. Many universities around the world hold summer camps specifically designed for teens who are interested in tech innovation. These programs all are city-based, and take both money and a degree of education to be successful. What about the high school kids on the verge of dropping out of school?
Torus Teens is a new startup in NYC that is focusing on hooking teens up with free after school programs that provide mentorship, networking, and opportunities to explore tech, business and entrepreneurship. Several states that focus on empowering teens through entrepreneurship, such as New Mexico, are sponsoring StartUp Weekends for high school students throughout the state. With much of the population spread out into rural areas, these weekends can provide some much needed networking and opportunity to rural kids. They have multiple options for scholarship funding as well, so teens can participate who might not otherwise be able to afford the program.