Earlier this year, I was approached by the organizers from Silicon Valley Young Coders Club (SVYCC), regarding an opportunity to mentor a program for youth. The program is to create opportunities for Silicon Valley youth to launch start-up ventures by enabling hands-on learning, along with exposure to technological innovation and industry perspective.
The locations for providing these opportunities were all across the Silicon Valley Bay Area. Partnering with San Leandro Education Foundation, I had an awesome opportunity to embark on a new journey to mentor the children of today, to be leaders of tomorrow.
Over a 10-week period, I worked with children from the ages of 9-16 to motivate and inspire them in enhancing their creativity by building their soft skills (i.e., passion, leadership, hard work, problem solving, integrity, social good), and introducing them to business planning skills (i.e., how to write a business plan, incorporation, financial statements, VC models, exit strategy). I was able to leverage leadership methodologies that I’ve learned at WhiteHat Security and in other positions during my career, and share with these students.
To make it more motivational and interesting for the students, they are encouraged to enhance their creativity by building out a business idea with an actual product demo or prototype for a chance to present this at a Pitch Fest. The SVYCC organizes a Young Tech Day event which occurs after the 10-weeks of training is completed. Throughout the course of Youth Tech Day, the students are invited to attend a full day of learning by attending various sessions – entrepreneurship panels, women in technology, keynote speakers, followed by the Pitch Fest.
The students in my classroom paid close attention to the lectures, asked questions, and participated throughout the program. The fact that this group of 15-20 students came to almost every single weekend (Sunday) session of the course by itself was impressive. Their level of dedication, their drive to learn, and their appetite to take on more – without any parental influence — was just admirable. There were a total of 4-5 groups, and each of them came up with business plans based on some very creative ideas, ranging from Newsletter Mobile Apps, to an Automatic Trash Robot (leveraging Artificial Intelligence), to Biometric Watches.
The real objective is to build the entrepreneurship mindset into the students – how to think forward, be a problem solver, plan ahead, and work diligently. With the students, not only did I see future developers, but also engineers, doctors, attorneys, scientists, and much more – the commonality is that they all now have the seed of how to think like an entrepreneur. After the course was completed, I was confident that these students will use the skills and knowledge they learned from this course in their daily lives. Having this as a foundation will grow the youth movement mindset to think like an entrepreneur and differentiate themselves to make a difference in this world.
With programs like these in place, the future looks bright…
This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog post authored by Avi B. Read the original post at: Blog – WhiteHat Security