A week in the life of … a student entrepreneur

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Jennifer Kim Last Saturday was my birthday and the first thing that I had to do was wake up, get ready, and go to Bootcamp and mentor. Now, if I was going to spend my special day at ‘work’, I wasn’t going to just show up -- ergo me showing  up in a Stitch onesie! After another heated session of Bootcamp, my techie friends and I went to Boston to celebrate. We saw a movie called Zootopia, and the main character really resembled my own background; being a techie girl among bunch of smart guys vs. a little bunny from a little town struggling to become a cop in Zootopia (where “everyone get along and anyone could be anything”) among other bigger and stronger animals. The best part about this…
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The Story Continues by Ethan Wong

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Our main goal has been accomplished, we filed for a provisional patent. Great! But what now? That’s the main question that Jennifer and I were faced with when discussing our idea further. We didn’t really know the hardware that went into our idea, and we truly didn’t know who we needed to approach in order to get the answers that we needed. That’s when we decided to present at a Monthly Minihack. These “hacks” also run by Youth CITIES, allow entrepreneurs of any age and at any stage of their business to present their problem to an audience of business professions, other serial entrepreneurs and students. Then we brainstorm about the potential solutions that could potentially solve these problems. We entered the minihack with a couple of key points that…
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Life as a Teenage Entrepreneur – by Jennifer Kim

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I was introduced to the STEM and business world in 6th grade, when I was just following my older brother and accidentally stepped into my middle school’s Technology and Engineering Club. Before then, I didn’t know that girls could participate in such hands-on activities, based on where I grew up. It really sparked me to take a deeper path in the field when the club advisor, Mr. Monagle, showed us a video that explained what it means to be an entrepreneur. The description was of a person who is creative, innovative, but also crazy. I was inspired by how people can use their ideas and apply science to help create technologies that could solve problems in the world. And this is how this one accidental encounter had changed my life.…
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CITIES Voices – moving beyond the idea

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  We all have ideas.  We've daydreamed, contemplated, complained, and wished upon a star...whether it's for better technology, living conditions, access to education, ways to communicate...you can fill in the blank here.  A lot of times, that's as far as we go - thinking about ideas.  It is the fear of starting?  The fear of failure?  Because it's a really long and winding road to make change happen? Then there are those who are not content to just come up with ideas for something better, but are going beyond the idea stage to actually doing?  They are not waiting for things to happen...they are making it happen.  Sometimes it's successful.  Often times it's a bumpy ride. CITIES Voices (#CITIESvoices) is a platform for CITIES Scholars to share about the things…
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Kickstarter Musing #2

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I cannot believe that it is  already February!  Last December, I had a Kickstarter campaign for an entrepreneurial endeavor of mine, and I mentioned that I was going to recap the top 5 things I’ve learned from my experience.  I had written one reflection right before the holidays, and decided that it would be better to reflect on the others right after the holidays.  So....it’s a little later than “right after the holidays”, but here’s reflection #2.  Again, these are just my musings from my own Kickstarter experience.  They are not meant to be advice to apply to other Kickstarter projects.  Even though Kickstarter has become quite popular as a way to raise funds for a product idea, it is still a relatively new concept to the general public, and…
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Musings of my Kickstarter Experience

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There are probably a million things I’d do differently if I was to do a Kickstarter campaign again.  I will focus on 5 over the next week or so, and then I will conclude with how this experience has been very beneficial. Musing #1:  Pre-marketing is very important.  With the right people. A friend of mine mentioned that he had hired a PR person well-before he was launching his Kickstarter campaign to create buzz.  I totally understood the reasoning behind it, but he had a company that he wanted to launch a new product using Kickstarter to raise the funds.  I, on the other hand, was teaming up with 2 other partners in crime to do a project....so there was no budget.  Hiring a PR person was not an option,…
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The Teacher Becomes the Student

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You know how, in certain subjects, it’s really cool to have a teacher who’s also a practitioner?  Well, even though I started Youth CITIES 4 years ago after having run the same company I founded over a decade ago, I am back in the trenches.  Practicing what I often talk about in the Youth CITIES classes, I’ve combined my experience/background in the videogame industry with my personal interest in raising my young kids to be bilingual. Being a practitioner puts me back in the hot seat, just like all of you who’ve been through the Youth CITIES March-to-May bootcamp.  I may have found a valid pain point and what my value proposition is, but I’ve been re-working and refining my elevator pitch over and over again.  (It is always much…
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Introducing a New Blog Contributor

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Youth CITIES has drawn some very positive attention lately. Last month, Youth CITIES was selected to participate in an open source philanthropy event sponsored by TUGG (Technology Underwriting the Greater Good). We represented ourselves very well and had the opportunity to introduced the concept of our program to over 600 young professionals, most of whom work in technology-related fields in Greater Boston.  We ended up receiving some grant funding from TUGG as a result of the attendees votes! After the event, we received tons of positive feedback. Many people have expressed interest in learning more about Youth CITIES, and some have already volunteered to donate their time and expertise to helping our organization grow. One of our new fans is Mark Kampert, a student of sustainability, project manager, and Returned…
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Backwards approach to entrepreneurship

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In a recent campaign for youth entrepreneurship at the State House, I spoke briefly about what makes someone an entrepreneur. Lately, I’ve also been thinking a lot about how someone may discover that they are an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial tendencies arise due to a number of factors. These include personality traits, economic climate, and the environment/culture around them. I was raised in a fiscally-conservative family, where building a nest egg was a priority. When I had my first internship at Lockheed as a Graphics Illustrator at age 16, my mom had me put most of it in an IRA account. Whatever left over amount (beyond the maximum I could put in an IRA), well, my mom said I could do whatever I wanted with the money. I was 16....it was an…
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Join us at the Young Entrepreneurs Campaign

Join us at the Young Entrepreneurs Campaign

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As I mentioned in my previous post, Youth CITIES is actively supporting Ingrid Li’s campaign for youth entrepreneurship. Ingrid is an amazing Winchester High School student, and Founder of the Entrepreneurial Youth Society (EYS). EYS is dedicated to promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship among youth across America. If you are interested in supporting the campaign, feel free to drop by the State House (Nurse’s Hall) on July 25th at 10:30am. There will be a rotating list of speakers, followed by a networking reception. The State House speaker agenda includes the following: Representative Jason Lewis, District Winchester Representative Senator Katherine Clark, Vice-Chair of Committee on Small Business Representative Alice Peisch, Chair of Committee on Education Tim Rowe, CEO and Founder of Cambridge Innovation Center Vicky Wu Davis, Founder and Executive Director…
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