I’ve been working in Chicago’s tech startup ecosystem for over a decade. As a mother of two boys, I felt it was important to expose them to the innovative tech ecosystem as a tween so they could imagine what they might become one day. I wanted them to think outside the box.
When my oldest son was 10, we encouraged him to start a business with his friends. The experience taught them so much. It wasn’t about the product they designed and tried to sell. It was about the process.
The boys spent time addressing organizational matters and interpersonal relations, thus developing life skills that will serve them well in any profession. I reserved a conference room at 1871 so they could hold a board meeting. We hired a graduate student to teach them CAD and help prototype their product at mHUB .
Through these activities we laid the foundation of entrepreneurship. We taught them how to think of a problem, create a solution, prototype a product, test it, and try to market it.
I will never forget the night my son pitched his grandfather for $100 to help cover the cost of printing their 3D prototype. His persuasive speech and passion was priceless.
This is why I created Teen Innovators, a platform of innovative programming for teens by teens. With the help of a few teachers, we developed clubs and camps that are teen led.
Our team understands that tweens and young teens crave the attention, advice and leadership from older positive role models who have recently walked in their shoes. That is why our enrichment and STEM youth programs are created and led by older teens.
Our team understands how important it is to give creative liberty and ownership to high school students through hands-on learning. Our near-peer mentors work in our business by joining our marketing team and creating curriculum for our clubs and camps.
As parents we seek out activities for our children. We sign our young kids up for soccer class to learn sportsmanship, build friendships and exercise. Teen Innovators is another opportunity that exposes kids to innovative thinking, inspires them to think big and lays the positive foundation for future success.
Students that attended our Chicago Summer Tech Camp felt confident walking through the tech spaces of the Chicago Connectory imagining someday they would be that game changer. They feel inspired by the stories of other tech founders and comforted by hearing that other leaders had setbacks but always moved forward. They feel validated when others listen to their ideas.
Want to get involved? Join us April 19th from 5:30-7:30 at The Chicago Connectory. Come for the taco bar and tech tour. Leave inspired!
We need your help. Together let’s foster the next generation of innovative thinkers and empathetic leaders.