A Queensland initiative seeks to incubate young entrepreneurial minds

Queensland-based startup incubator Silicon Lakes is not just helping young businesses grow, but also young minds.

 

The not-for-profit is raising money through crowdfunding website iPledg for an eight week Startup Apprentice pilot program to be delivered to students at Queensland’s Varsity College.

 

Silicon Lakes chief operations officer Sharon Hunneybell said the program was inspired by the creativity of ‘kidprenuers’ at Startup Weekend Gold Coast last November.

 

“One lad had an idea of a tablet (computer) that you could put together piece by piece like Lego,’’ Hunneybell says.

 

“So it was easily upgradeable in the same way.

 

“Another was an app called SketchEzy that you could take a photo of whatever you like and then turn it into a dot-to-dot ready to be drawn and coloured in.

 

“There was a 12-year-old girl who did a bit of dog walking for pocket money and she wanted to be able to easily blog her dog walking journey so owners could see her interacting with their dogs.

 

“She wanted to value-add to her dog-walking,’’ Hunneybell says with a laugh.

 

There has been plenty of interest in the program from a number of schools thanks, in no small part, to the enthusiasm of its organisers, Hunneybell and her Silicon Lakes colleague Sam Winter.

 

“We got a little bit inspired,’’ Hunneybell admits.

 

“We pitched the idea to anyone and everyone.’’

 

Eventually, Varsity College in Queensland agreed to be involved and on May 1 the eight week pilot program will begin.

 

The 50 students from grades nine, 10 and 11 will brainstorm ideas and as the program progresses, design and build products, market their business, all while managing their $100 project budget.

 

Silicon Lakes is attempting to raise $5000 via iPledg to pay for the costs of delivering the program.

 

However, the survival of the program is not reliant on whether or not it meets its iPledg funding goal.

 

Hunneybell said the people at Silicon Lakes were passionate enough about the project to dip into their own pockets to ensure it would go ahead.

 

Visit the programs iPledg page to donate.

 

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