Monday, September 9, 2013

Youth Technology Innovation Challenge announced

KANSAS CITY, KAN. --- Leaders of the Kansas City Startup Village (KCSV) – an association of startup founders, business owners, Kansas City Kansas Community College representatives and entrepreneurs based in the ‘Google Fiberhood’ announce their inaugural Youth Technology Innovation Challenge, to be held September 25-29 at the University of Missouri Kansas City and other venues.

The new education program is designed to provide 120 high school and college students from throughout the greater Kansas City area with the opportunity to work in teams to solve specific business problems generated by local area businesses with technology solutions.

The students – including 80 high school and 40 college students interested in the technology industries – will work over a five-day period in 20 teams of seven people, including a corporate or entrepreneur volunteer adviser for each team.

They will design plans for solving those real-world business problems and at the end of the competition, awards will be presented to the winning teams at a special event to be held at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, MO.

“This entire program has been created to involve outstanding high school and college students in the entrepreneurial world of high technology by offering them an opportunity to work with their peers to solve real problems or challenges generated by some of our area’s leading up and-coming companies,” explained Eze Redwood, a co-leader of the K.C. Startup Village and owner of Wings CafĂ© in Kansas City. “Our goal is to accelerate their learning curve in math, science and technology by giving them the opportunity to work on real world issues, with real world advisers and companies. In addition, we hope to encourage participating companies to create internships for these extraordinary young people.”

The KCSV event activities will include:
  • An initial meeting at UMKC on Wednesday, Sept. 25, where all participants will meet for the first time for team building and networking activities. They will tour the Startup Village on and around Stateline Road in KCK; teams will be formed and receive their “problem” to solve; and they may begin considering their approach to a solution.
  • A general session will be held at UMKC all day on Saturday, Sept. 28, with a series of subject matter experts who will speak to students on multiple aspects of technology and entrepreneurialism.  Teams will then begin formulating information and presentations for offering their solutions to the full group.
  • The final session will be held on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 29, at which time student teams will present their solutions and wireframes to the business problems posed by the companies. Industry participants will then vote on the best solutions and awards will be presented to the winning teams.
The new KCSV Youth Technology Innovation Challenge is being funded by KC Accelerator project that is funded by the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, and the Small Business Administration.

The Challenge is also supported by 20/20 Leadership of Kansas City, the leadership and community involvement program for high school students; the Kauffman Scholars, Inc. college access and scholarship program; the K.C. STEM Alliance for science and technology education; the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS); and ENACTUS (formerly SIFE), the national business skills program for college students.

“In addition to the many activities included in the Youth Technology Innovation Challenge, the Startup Village will also deploy the talents of local area student film-makers to document all the work being done over the five days of the program,” notes Leslie Scott the co-organizer. “The goal is to create a documentary film that will show the depth and breadth of everyone’s involvement – from all the startup tech companies involved in the Kansas City Startup Village to the high school, college, association and business participants and supporters. This documentary, as well as the series of mini-episodes based on the teams, will provide insight into the mindset and decision making required of technology and business innovators. The student-directors’ artistic prowess will then be displayed and judged in a following event. We hope that this event will simply be the first of many to be held over the years and we want to have a record of its inaugural success.”