Startupbootcamp launches Startup Kids: accelerator summer camp for kids

Learning about entrepreneurship cannot start too early. Startupbootcamp has launched Startup Kids, a summercamp for 10-12 year olds, where they learn build their own company in just one week.

Startupbootcamp, the Amsterdam- London- and Berlin-based network of accelerators, likes to surprise audiences during their demo days. In a typical demo day (we covered quite a few of them such as hightechxl nov 2015hightechXL jan 2015, hightechxl 2014, e-commerce jan 2016e-commerce jan-2015) a next location, country, topic or program is announced.

Last Friday the audience was however surprised with the launch of a summer camp for children, that will take place in 2016 in Amsterdam. On Monday August 22, parents can drop their children off at for the startupkids.io camp.

By Friday august 26th they see their children present a validated startup idea during a real demo day. The program is aimed at Dutch speaking parents and reads like a mix of business and pleasure.  It  includes swimming, climbing, vlogging, blogging, gaming and building cool stuff. The program costs 250 euro, which seems reasonable compared to other summer camps.

Digital education

To prepare young people for a career in the modern economy, basic digital skills are needed. Many people in the startup world are therefore also active in new educational initiatives. CodePact is an example that was supported by Neelie Kroes, with a focus on coding skills.

Startup Kids is a nice extension of these ideas, with a broader focus. Knowing how to code never hurts, but developing a business idea does not start with coding: it starts with listening, designing, interviewing and other communication skills. It is good to see that The Netherlands does not just have coding schools, but also initiatives such as GrowthTribe’s growth hacking program, startup weekends and now Startup Kids.

The program will take place in B. Amsterdam and will start with 20 children in the first edition. "We have approached this as a startup experiment, with a small first edition", program director Phuong Do explains."If the first edition is successful, it will probably grow in the following years".

Even though the program starts small, it does not lack in ambition: "In one week, these kids will challenge the difficult problems of our world". Laurentien van Oranje, the wife of new StartupDelta envoy Constantijn from Oranje, will be ambassador to this program.

Accelerators for children: a crazy idea?

Can children really start a company? On the one hand this seems to be the pinnacle of the startup craze. There is a lot of media attention for startups and plenty of accelerator programs. Many startup adventures lead nowhere. Many people and ideas would have been more accelerated if they had stayed in an existing company.

Therefore at StartupJuncture we do not blindly encourage people to start one, and would not recommend any kid to start a startup. Having said this, we do believe learning about startups is extremely useful for everyone and can be a lot of fun.

So what to make of this summer camp? There actually is a lot of experience in startup crash courses for young people, in the form of startup weekends. In a startup weekend, a lot of people who should not quit their day job or drop out of university are exposed to startup propaganda.

They are trained to develop and pitch an idea under pressure with a new team. The results are mostly positive: most participants enjoy the experience, make new friends, learn a lot and luckily most do not launch their idea for real at all. It turns out participants are smart enough to make their own decisions once they have the right information: they learn a lot from the program and use those skills in their current job, studies or company.

Based on this experience, we believe Startup Kids is a very valuable program and we are looking forward to see the results. If you are a parent and attending the demo day, let us know and you can be be a guest correspondent for a report of the demo day.

Image: Pixabay