What do behemoth companies like Airbnb, Dropbox and Reddit have in common? They struggled to get off the ground until they joined accelerator programs like Y Combinator. It’s hard to imagine humble beginnings for companies now valued in the billions but incubators are that effective because they provide startups with early investment capital, infrastructure support, and business coaching. The old adage that you can’t go it alone has never been more true than when starting a business. And truer still the younger you are. (Many of our featured entrepreneurs weren’t old enough to drive when they launched their businesses!)
Almost all of the young entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed have developed their ideas through an entrepreneurship program. Many didn’t even have a business idea when they joined. Through the use of mentors, resources, and the synergy from being around other like-minded students that programs like the Young Entrepreneur Academy (YEA) and the Diamond Challenge provided, these young entrepreneurs were able to turn their ideas into a real business.
Lane Karlitz, who created the app Study Senses, was able validate his idea and create a a complicated music app with no coding experience by utilizing an app development firm the YEA recommended. Kayla Abramowitz learned to write a business plan and create profit streams for her nonprofit Kayla Cares 4 Kids. And Shreyas Parab received $800 in funding, which he used to launch My Novel Ties. Even Max Ash, who did not go through a formal entrepreneurship program, had a supportive family who surrounded themselves with people more expert than them.
In an attempt to get my kids thinking entrepreneurially, I scoured the Internet to find some entrepreneurship camps for this summer. But unfortunately most were located in Silicon Valley (big surprise) and none accommodated kids younger than 7 years of age. Still, I was impressed with what I found and decided to compile a list of top 9 entrepreneurship camps. These camps vary in length, age and price, but each have something unique to offer. Of the camps still open for registration (sorry for not posting sooner!), they’re just getting ready to start so act fast if you’re interested.