It has been an honor and a privilege to develop this program with Kentuckiana Works and serve as program coordinator, creating curricula, fundraising, hiring staff, booking speakers, coordinating travel and transportation, managing budget, and supervising operations.
Summer StartUp is a grant funded program under the Mayor’s SummerWorks umbrella. It started with one team of 3 students who had won a Junior Achiever pitchfest in 2016. Over the summer, they were paid an hourly wage to have a start up business and strive towards completing a prototype of their technology. During the 7 weeks, the youth also experienced an array of field trips and speakers to open their minds to the different sides of entrepreneurship, business, and the city of Louisville. In addition to working on their prototype, the youth learned to use various skills like soldering and how to use wood shop equipment and machines at LVL1 like laser cutters and vinyl cutters to create their own light up signs.
In 2017, the program was opened for applications from any youth ages 16-21. A total of 28 youth were accepted into the program. Due to previously paid for academic camps or international trips, 19 started the program and 15 completed the program. (Four left due to family emergencies or conflicts with higher paid work.) The youth were split into 4 teams based on their interests in one of four areas: Public Relations, Retail, Merchandising and Sales, Marketing, or Engineering. Each team had their own start up business with a client for the duration of the 7 week program and had to create deliverables for their clients. The youth appeared on local radio and TV while also getting to experience many speakers, some creative work days at LVL1, field trips and attended a groundbreaking ceremony with Mayor Fischer and other local and state politicians. They learned many hard and soft skills related to technology, prototyping, professionalism, media, advertising, marketing film making, and many other areas. All youth left the program with increased self esteem, new friends, portfolio pieces, and letters of recommendation to aid them in finding future work or applying to college. Two youth from this program were given awards (out of the 350 subsidized youth in Mayor’s SummerWorks): “Hardest Working” and “Most Professional Growth.”
Check out the exciting 2017 summer here.