19 September 2009

Youth CITIES ~ Impact thru Social Enterprise!

I was pleased to be part of kicking off Youth CITIES this morning at MIT, a program which...
"...inspires, educates, and equips high school students to take action and make a difference in their communities via social entrepreneurship. This rigorous bootcamp empowers students to use the principles of entrepreneurship to drive change in their communities. Moving beyond just the academics of building businesses, Youth CITIES frames real-life problems, real-life constraints, and real-life criteria as the launch pad for students to create a value-driven, sustainable solution to real-life market opportunities."
A wonderfully motivated group of entrepreneurial student leaders from schools in the Boston-metro area are participating this year, with interests including civic improvement and community-building and youth engagement. Mobile software gaming entrepreneur Vicky Wu Davis has rallied a stellar group of instructors and mentors to make this happen. I was honored to share the stage this morning, for example, with iRobot co-founder, CEO and chairman Colin Angle. Colin told his epic story of building up from a scrappy custom robo-engineering shop to today's category-killer robotics business in both the consumer and security and safety sectors. Plus he shared some of his more painful stories of failure along the way thus illustrating the corresponding need for entrepreneurs to be resilient and persistent. Youth CITIES is itself an emergent social enterprise and a new element of WhizKids, founded by MIT chemistry alumna and Miss Massachusetts 2004, Erika Ebbel, whose overall mission is improving science and technology awareness in elementary, middle and high school students.

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