Youth Entrepreneurship and Technology Opportunities in Kansas City
Students from Smithton High School's Future Business Leaders of America visiting the Kauffman Foundation for 1 Million Cups, a weekly entrepreneurial showcase in Kansas City
Kansas City is all in for entrepreneurship—and in fact, offers many opportunities for youth to get involved in the startup and technology scenes.
Which is good news, because Kansas City needs young people ready to think entrepreneurially and work in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) more than ever.
When we looked at opportunities in STEM in last year’s We Create KC report, there were more than twice as many STEM job postings as hires. That may mean companies’ needs are going unmet, which is not great for economic development...
But the good news is the Kansas City community has done what it does best—identified a problem and come together to solve it. Here is a strong sampling of opportunities for Kansas City’s youth to get plugged in to and learn from the area’s thriving entrepreneurial and tech ecosystem:
Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS)
CAPS is a nationally recognized, innovative high school program. Students fast forward into their future and are fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real world problems, using industry standard tools and are mentored by actual employers, all while receiving high school and college credit.
Meet Madison Nasteff, a 2015 graduate of Liberty High School whose engineering career was jump started with an internship at Kellogg’s thanks to her involvement in Northland CAPS.
CAPS is an example of how business, community and public education can partner to produce personalized learning experiences that educate the workforce of tomorrow, especially in high skill, high demand jobs.
We know summer is just around the corner. But now is a great time to put these wonderful programs on your radar for next year:
Blue Valley CAPS
Startland News Jobs Board
Our friends over at Startland News recently relaunched their jobs board, an excellent place for any and all to learn about all sorts of opportunities in Kansas City-area innovation-led companies. This excellent service is a must-share if you have ever been asked, “So how do I get involved in a Kansas City startup, anyway?”
Young techies and wanna-preneurs can even select “Internship” in the toolbar to see upcoming opportunities to work hands-on with local companies to hone their skills and see what it really takes to be a part of a startup team.
Young Entrepreneurs Program KC (YEP KC)
We were blown away when we learned the team behind C2FO, one of the businesses featured in this year’s We Create KC report, took it upon themselves to create YEP KC, an internship program for high school students that focuses on entrepreneurial thinking and development through practical experience.
Applications may be closed for 2017, but this is definitely worth sticking in your memory bank if you are or know an ambitious high school student looking to stack their resume and their coffers. (Accepted students receive $500 weekly compensation and a $5,000 college scholarship at the end of the summe.)
Most Entrepreneurial Community in America (MECA) Challenge
MECA Challenge is an experiential learning program for anyone interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. The primary goals of MECA Challenge are twofold: to build an entrepreneurial mindset in the participants as well as an awareness and excitement about the local startup community.
A one-day MECA Challenge has proven to work great for student groups, schools and school districts, but its intentionally flexible design allows for it to be used for anything from professional development to community building.
The one-day program challenges six-person teams to solve real business problems for local startups. Teams are guided by a mentor from the entrepreneurial community. At the end of the day, each team presents their solutions to a panel of judges and prizes are awarded for the most viable solutions.
Kansas City Women in Technology (KCWiT)
KCWiT's vision is an equally diverse technology workforce in the Kansas City area that attracts and retains talented people. Their mission is to grow the number of women in technology careers in KC by providing networking events and volunteer opportunities to their members and running programs to encourage girls to pursue technology.
Here are a couple of upcoming opportunities that you don’t want to miss:
Coding and Cupcakes: June 10
Mother and daughter coding duos will envision themselves cupcake shop owners in need of creating a website to show of their baked goods. They'll learn website building from start to finish.
Django Girls: July 21
Learn about coding and technology at this free workshop with experienced women programmers. Apply by May 26, to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
Kansas City University Venture Program (KCUVP)
KCUVP is a private scholarship and experiential learning opportunity for university students sponsored by Royal Street Ventures, the Kauffman Foundation and other private donors.
KCUVP students are exposed to the world of private finance, including angel investing, venture capital, growth equity and private equity. Over time, students have the opportunity to manage the entire lifecycle of a private investment, from sourcing and diligence to investing and exit.
If you’re interested in getting involved in any capacity, sign up to learn more about the Kansas City University Venture Program now.
Global Entrepreneurship Week Kansas City (GEWKC)
GEWKC is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and introducing four tracks for events and participants: makers and creators, business services, business growth and youth entrepreneurship.
The youth entrepreneurship track is for KC’s nextgen innovators, inventors and disrupters and the opportunities that will help guide their ideas and shape our future. Ideas for events tailored to this audience are being accepted now through August 18. If you have an idea to nourish young minds, head to the Global Entrepreneurship Week website, create an account and submit your vision now.
Looking for more ways to get involved in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem?
Send us some info at our contact us page and we will be in touch ASAP with your personalized action plan. It will take each and every one of us giving our best to make Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city, so get started now.