Why this UCLA-partnered high school accelerator is giving money to teenagers and how you can benefit too.


Entrepreneurship is one of the foundational pieces of our business economy. We expect that everyday individuals will continue to attempt to bring their dreams to life and market, by way of entrepreneurship, startups, and small business. But do we expect this from teenagers? We’ve heard about the anomaly children who launch something that ends up going viral. But that could be changing, starting right now.

Let’s Get Down to Business

Meet Founders Bootcamp, the world’s very first high school accelerator. With their partners at UCLA, this accelerator brings students the opportunity to go through the founder process of developing their ideas and learning to pitch in an environment that is not only inspiring, but full of resources. Plenty of students have imagined that one day they might build their own business, and Founders Bootcamp is putting that much sooner on their timeline, allowing the participants an opportunity to realize real-life solutions to real world problems.

Why High Schoolers?

Why not? How has nobody tapped into this potential-rich untapped market? Where they lack in experience, students more than make up for in creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, access and understanding of young/new markets, undiluted perspective, and what appears to be an unlimited energy supply. This opportunity to “learn by doing” isn’t without reward for the young founders. Their efforts could be rewarded with a startup fund of up to $50,000, along with mentors, and valuable partnerships.

What Does This Mean for You?

It might be time for you to step up your game, consider your next steps, or get involved. Mentorships are effective growth accelerators, and a great option to get young potential on your team before they ever hit the competitive marketplace. With an eighteen percent success rate for new entrepreneurs, mentorship is not only valuable, but a necessary piece of the startup puzzle, especially if we are bringing our entrepreneurs in at even younger ages.

Curb the Business Failure Rate

According to the Indiana Small Business Development Center, forty-six percent of small business failure can be attributed to incompetence. Tack on another thirty percent due to a lack of managerial experience, and it becomes incredibly obvious why mentorship is necessary in curbing the business failure rate.

Welcome to the Real World

Entrepreneurship is the greatest representation of real-life these students could possibly experience. They are placed in an environment, told to dream big, to create, to fail, to iterate, to learn, and to explore. This is life. This is their chance at developing an understanding ofhow life and business works on a more involved level, something, no  matter how much I contemplate, I cannot place a value on. We encourage our kids to fundraise for sports, to sell lemonade to the neighbors, to babysit, and cut lawns. We do this, not because we expect their summer jobs will pay for their college, but because we know the value in these experiences. Founders Bootcamp is like that, on steroids, and we need more of this.

Don’t Miss This Pivot

Every high school should have a program just like this one, where students can dream big and jumpstart their entrepreneurial future. Their tagline is: Don’t wait to change the world. And I want to pass that advice onto you. See where you fit in this puzzle of next gen founders, or get back to innovating, because they are your competition, and they are coming for you…. Right after last bell.


Read the original INC article published on August 29, 2018.

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