RedFlint is hosting what organizers describe as “an explosion of sticky notes,” this weekend.
Eric Lassard, a 13-year-old Las Vegas boy and chief technology officer of Airschool.tv, organized a Youth Startup Weekend at RedFlint — a University of Phoenix-owned business incubator, community education center and startup accelerator in downtown Las Vegas.
“We empower kids to use technology to take their ideas and to turn them into a reality,” Lassard said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of mentality, or mindset or skill set you have. What’s important is that you have a passion for something. And when you can bring it into this event, you can find and build a team around this to and you can actually take your idea and turn into a product, a reality.”
He said about 25 people, ranging 10 to 18 years old are registered for the event.
The young entrepreneurs will split off into groups of about five or six based on similar interests and work with a coach to develop an idea and a “minimal viable product” to present to judges Sunday afternoon.
Heather Wilde, CTO and coach at mentoring, consulting and training firm ROCeteer will be one of those judges.
“I hope that these kids see that it’s never too early to start thinking about creating a business. I hope they see the value of working in teams, and I hope that this opens their eyes to being an entrepreneur,” Wilde said.
Shavonnah Tiera Collins, RedFlint’s managing director, has long been involved in the startup scene in Las Vegas. She helped to bring the first Startup Weekend to Las Vegas in 2011.
“This is the first one dedicated to youth, and it’s great to see somebody step up and do that,” Collins said, adding that she is interested to see what the students come up with.
She knows of a 14-year-old who pitched an idea at a UNLV-hosted Startup Weekend for college students.
“He wanted to create a company that allowed tourists to fly drones up and down downtown Vegas,” Collins said. “So, that is the type of thing that you’ll see: technology, and how it is viewed from the kids’ point of view.”
Collins said Startup Weekends can happen whenever somebody in the community comes forward to organize one.
Lassard said it is important for kids to know that they don’t have to wait to start doing something with their ideas.
“Technology makes everything possible. It doesn’t matter anymore — your age, your background, your mindset, your knowledge. All that matters is your goal and what you are going to do with it.”
Contact Nicole Raz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.