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CATS Academy students shine in online business bootcamp

Clubs and organizations 27 April 2020

International students from CATS Academy are putting their natural drive for business to the test, read on to discover more.

Three students from CATS Academy Boston are active in the 2020 Youth CITIES March-to-May Bootcamp. This 10-week business programme helps students from diverse backgrounds harness their entrepreneurial drive and put their skills to work.

This marks the fifth year our students have taken part, joining 25-30 other top middle and high school students from the Boston area. Working in small groups, students apply lessons learned to the completion of their own individual projects over three-hour Saturday sessions.

Undaunted by the global situation, the programme continues in 2020 via Zoom, with focus on solutions to the ongoing pandemic.

Who’s taking part?

Representing CATS Boston are three talented eleventh-graders and Ivy Scholars.

Nihat from Azerbaijan is exploring how to unlock the talent of unemployed people at home during the pandemic to meet other needs in society, like providing an online workforce.

Jaafat from Morocco is looking at ways to promote the use of electric vehicles for delivery services during the pandemic.

Willy from Thailand is applying tracking software and GPS mapping, showing citizens which streets or neighbourhoods have more cases of the virus, rather than just reports of numbers in a wider area.

Who’s running the bootcamp?

Moderating the classes is Youth CITIES Director Vicky Wu Davis, a well-known figure in education in Massachusetts. Visiting instructors are professionals with strong track records in the world of start-ups and technology.

A team of mentors support the students in breakout sessions throughout the process. Mentors are usually college students or young professionals who went through Youth CITIES programs in high school and want to continue to participate and develop their own entrepreneurial ideas and projects. Some are students and graduates of, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, Boston University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Olin College of Engineering, and Clark University.

Is there a prize?

Of course! Students in the program will present their final projects on 2 May. A prize round for the best presentations will be held by a panel of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs on 9 May. Prize funding this year increased to $5,000, with funds distributed to develop projects beyond the bootcamp.

A key factor in evaluating projects is how the ideas of student-entrepreneurs have evolved during the ten weeks. The judges want to hear how they changed and modified their product in response to feedback and obstacles. It’s more about problem solving, research, flexibility, and public speaking than simply having a shiny product or business plan ready for the market.

Entrepreneurs and mentors who have participated in Youth CITIES for the past ten years attest that it’s all about the learning, discovering your own passion to make something real and change the world. Entrepreneurship is a long race, and failure is common along the way.

As Vicky Wu Davis says, we often learn more when something is not viable.  Sharing hands-on experience and skills is the heart of the bootcamp. Youth CITIES teaches that, ultimately, entrepreneurship is a mindset and set of skills that can be applied in many areas and settings.

The future’s brighter with CATS

One judge pointed out that he wished he had learned more about the entrepreneurial journey when he was in high school or college. CATS are proud to extend these opportunities to international students, preparing them for a prosperous future.

Secure your child a place, book online today.

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