Rochester's Premier Youth Startup Weekend Begins this Friday March 18th

What’s the best way to foster a community culture of entrepreneurship?

Rochester’s entrepreneurial community believes that encouraging young enthusiasts to pursue commercializing their own ideas is one vital answer to that question.

To that end, Rochester’s Journey to Growth Partnership is hosting Rochester’s first Youth Startup Weekend on March 18th-20th at University Center Rochester. Youth Startup Weekend is free to attend and is targeted to high school and middle school students.

Interested students may register here.

The event will follow the recognized Startup Weekend format in which teams of budding entrepreneurs put the “Lean Startup” model into practice. The top ideas proposed at the beginning of the event are taken “from pitch to prototype” in just three days.

Rachelle Oribio, Techstars++ Program Director and event co-organizer, urged students and adults to expect engagement and creativity from young participants, saying: “I think we underestimate the creativity and capacity for teenagers to produce on par [with] adults. Back in November, a group of middle school and high school ladies pitched at Global Entrepreneurship Week, and they were as good as any adult that pitched that night. At Startup Weekend in Iowa City last year the ages ranged from 12 to 71.”

Ms. Oribio emphasized that this event and the skills it helps young participants develop can have a significant impact for both students and the community. Youth Startup Weekend helps the next generation adapt to the ongoing “culture shift” and develop the tools to succeed in a society in which staying with the same employer for decades is no longer the norm.

“Our city needs workers who can solve problems and think outside the box. We need people to build businesses in town. Events such as these open people up to the process of building their own startup.”

Youth Startup Weekend organizers are currently planning for at least 50 attendees, and additional student participants as well as adult mentors are encouraged to attend. Journey to Growth is hosting the event in partnership with sponsors Techstars++, Mayo Clinic Ventures, SBDC Minnesota, and Rochester Community and Technical College.