Startup Spring Break: Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Middle School CPS Girls

Photo by Sean Su / CloudSpotter

An intensive spring break camp brought together 29 aspiring middle school entrepreneurs from 19 Chicago Public Schools and one homeschool to create an app-based business idea and pitch. Future Founders, a nonprofit startup, teamed up with Google to launch Startup Spring Break, a free week-long (April 7-13) entrepreneurship bootcamp for middle school girls from Chicago’s communities.

“Coming to Google is a really great opportunity for them to see one of the world’s top technology companies and kind of learn that entrepreneurial process that Google went through to get to where it is today,” said Scott Issen, the President & CEO of Future Founders.

Future founders teaches kids in grades 7-12 in primarily under served areas on the South and West sides of Chicago. They’ve partnered with 25-30 schools with their Discover program, where two instructors will lead students in learning about entrepreneurship. This year, they’ve worked with approximately 1,500 students.

“We want to serve students in their neighborhoods, but then also take them out of their neighborhoods so that they can meet other people who are talented and like-minded,” said Issen. “Because about half of the students that we’ve worked with may never have met an entrepreneur before, specifically one who started more of a growth type business, giving them a chance to build that relationship is key. It’s not so much that we’re teaching, we’re more facilitators along this journey where they’re learning by doing. So we’re providing content but we’re giving them a chance to apply that.”

The culmination of the week featured a student showcase at Google Chicago where they pitched their ideas to Googlers, community stakeholders, and their families.

The ideas covered all sorts of subject matters, from emergency alerts and bullying to fashion and grocery shopping.

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