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Youth CITIES - Bootcamp for young entrepreneurs

Clubs and organizations 26 March 2018

Youth CITIES Bootcamp is a 10-week program that explores the structure of startups for a new generation of entrepreneurs. Saturday morning sessions take place at the Riverfront Office Park, Main Street in the centre of Cambridge Massachusetts, home to MIT, Harvard, and minutes away from the CIC (Cambridge Innovation Centre), known as 'startup square',  which houses more startups than anywhere else on the planet. 

The kick-off event took place at Google's headquarters, also on Main Street Cambridge, an appropriate location for the aspiring young entrepreneurs. We caught up with Anastasia, one of the five participating students from CATS Academy Boston. Talking about the initial meeting, Anastasia says, “There was a sense of excitement…  we associate Google with modern life and free choices, that’s how people felt, that’s how I felt. It was inspiring at the kick-off”. She goes on to say that the location is significant, that "it's exciting for me to be in that area, in Cambridge, it's the place to be for entrepreneurs".

The aim of the program is to introduce high school students to the structure of startups and, ultimately, to imagine and design a viable business plan themselves. However, it must be a model that incorporates social responsibility, a social enterprise,  steering the focus away from making a profit for profit’s sake.

Every session starts with a guest speaker from a different field of business, who share their own experiences and help the 25 local Boston students develop their ideas for launching a business. The first guest speaker was Los Angeles-based music business entrepreneur, David Franz who started his business by giving violin lessons. Anastasia says “ his example proved to students that the overall success of the startup depends on three basic components – problem, sources, and passion”. She goes on to explain how participants need to find “a problem that matters to them” and coming up with a way of solving that problem. After listening to the guest speaker, the students undertake individual and collaborative projects.

One of the tasks the students were set was to create a 'circle of resources', which places the entrepreneur at the centre, with each ring representing tangible steps towards an achievable action,  providing "a way to start" and as Anastasia says, "a visual way to approach my idea".  Anastasia also describes how listening to the guest speaker allowed her to see that “from a student’s perspective it’s important to meet these entrepreneurs, you see what they started with, you witness their passion and it energizes you.”

Another fundamental aspect of the program, Anastasia was keen to point out, was the notion of addressing "the moral consequences of business”, that in the past business was mostly “just correlated with consumerism”, she states “ only now it makes sense to limit ourselves, in the past people would simply make money”.

It is encouraging to listen to our future business leaders.When speaking to Anastasia, it gives you confidence that this generation will place ethics at the forefront of business innovation and lead us towards a hopeful world-future. 

Extracurricular opportunities challenge and develop students' academic abilities.

Other opportunities include: Youth Cities ‘L3 Innovation Challenge, DECA Club, The Scholars Program and more.

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