Twenty high school students showing off their startup business ideas for the superintendent? Let’s just say this isn’t your dad’s summer camp, or even your brother’s or sister’s. It’s called Startup Summer, an eight-week camp in which the kids learn entrepreneurial skills.
“This is a skill set that’s transferable so whether they’re gonna be business owners, entrepreneurs or they’re on their way to college it’s a critical skill set that broadens their horizon,” said Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent.
The ideas were as diverse as the students presenting them. From an app that helps students search for scholarship opportunities to a video game that builds vocabulary skills to a service that promises a better price for that old cell phone you’re trading in.
Daniel Espinosa, a student at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School, wants to provide magic shows for parties at much cheaper rates than those currently available.
“’Cause I wanna make my own money, I wanna be my own boss,” Espinosa said, expressing the sentiment of all the campers.
Another idea: the Billow, a combination binder, pillow, and laptop cover. You can literally rest your head at your desk.
“We want ‘where comfort meets convenience’ for everybody,” said Jennifer Etienne of North Miami Beach High, one of two students pitching the Billow, which already has a marketing slogan.
Startup Summer is free to the campers, thanks to sponsorship by Miami-Dade College’s Idea Center and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. It’s a nifty idea.
“NFTE teaches entrepreneurship to low income kids, and the reason that’s important is that in the process they engage in their academics, they engage in their futures, they get excited about their futures, every single kid develops an individualized business plan,” explained Alice Horn, the Executive Director of NFTE.
The director of the Idea Center, Liandro Finol, said, “The best thing about the summer camp is the energy, you have 20 students from all over the county, with passion.”
Each one of the campers gets a thousand dollars in startup capital, a thousand dollar stipend, and advice and mentorship to get going, to actually set their business plans in motion.
Carvalho was so impressed, he’s hoping to see the idea expanded next year so more kids can take part. No, it’s not a regular summer camp. It’s a lot better.