Skunkworks

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CITIES Skunkworks

CITIES Skunkworks is a community and platform that brings together early-stage innovators/entrepreneurs with those who want to support them. Through a combination of online and in-person support, CITIES Skunkworks provides a micro-resource exchange of ideas, expertise, development resources, and prototyping funding to become “investment-ready.” An internal venture fund simulation demystifies the venture capital process. All YC Scholars have unlimited access to Skunkworks.


CITIES Skunkworks is designed to be a hub of fast-paced innovative activity that spans across generations (middle school students to veteran “students in the school of life”) working together to get results: hypothesize and validate. With an emphasis on nimbleness and speed, CITIES Skunkworks will focus on customer discovery and business model search to answer questions about product features, pricing, distribution channels, and customer acquisition strategies.

CITIES Skunkworks was formed to provide continued support for the entrepreneurial activity by Youth CITIES Scholars after graduating from the March-to-May Bootcamp. By providing experienced entrepreneurs and investors as mentors to the Youth CITIES Scholars, alum can continue fleshing out their idea from the Bootcamp, or explore other entrepreneurial ideas. Youth CITIES believes that the active support of real, hands-on entrepreneurial activity further strengthens their project-based learning. Through a series of concrete steps to achieve micro-milestones, Skunkworks applies the creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and communications skills that are the foundation of entrepreneurship.

CITIES Skunkworks is open to any Youth CITIES Scholar, or any youth entrepreneurial team that includes at least one Youth CITIES Scholar. As our youth also learn by being exposed to entrepreneurs of all ages, we also welcome non-youth entrepreneurs into the Skunkworks Portfolio via application. For more information, please contact Vicky at vicky@youthcities.org with the subject line: “Skunkworks inquiry.”

With mentor guidance and peer learning, this intergenerational incubation lab focuses on having entrepreneurs reach micro-milestones quickly and effectively through 5 cycles:

    1. Concept Validation
    2. Customer Validation
    3. Resource/Stakeholder Evaluation
    4. Business Model and Profit Model Evaluation
    5. MVP development

Cycles may be repeated if hypotheses are not validated. Cycles may be done consecutively, or with breaks in between to accommodate activities such as sports and school activities. CITIES Skunkworks works in a physical and virtual format to maximize efficiency and accommodates to the chaotic lifestyle that is inherent to entrepreneurs. During the summer months, Skunkworks meets once a week. For non-summer months, Skunkworks office hours are held twice a month.

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