Last Friday, we had a group of 10th graders from the The Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TWYLS) hang out at Chartbeat Studios. TYWLS is a network of schools focused on bringing high-quality single-sex education to predominantly low-income students between 6th and 12th grade, usually first generation college students in their families. Their ultimate mission strives to make higher education achievable and leadership opportunities accessible to aspiring young women across the country.
We’re pretty big believers in their mission and for the last three years we’ve had the pleasure of spending the day with these bright young minds to give them a glimpse into the tech startup space and world of entrepreneurship. Something not enough young women have the chance to see let alone be encouraged to pursue as a future career path.
The day was filled with equal parts snacks, puppies, and guided brainstorms aimed at solving a problem they cared about. After tons of ideas and voting, the girls settled on building a solution for deciding how to dress depending on the day’s weather. (Hear that, friends at Poncho?).
We broke the girls in two smaller groups, both solving for the same problem. The outcome? An ingenious solution that began with thinking about potential customers and ended with an initial startup business plan complete with company names, a logo, app or website, and overall marketing plan for the company. It’s amazing what happens when you put people in a room and ask them to create a solution for something they care about.
A surprise appearance from CEO Tony Haile, during the presentation period was an extra treat for the girls, as they had no idea who they were pitching their ideas to. He treated them a little easier than the Sharks in "Shark Tank."
These young women came up with amazing solutions and I think walked away from the day with a different perspective on career paths, entrepreneurship, and lots of goodies from our startup friends around the country. Huge thanks to:
Our goal was to educate them on the possibilities. Mission accomplished.