Earlier this month, Future Founders brought together 27 motivated Chicago middle schoolers for Startup Spring Break—the first time we’ve run this program in-person since 2019!
Powered by Google, this free weeklong entrepreneurship intensive allowed participants—who represented 19 different schools across the city—to practice entrepreneurial skills in real time while working to develop and pitch their own original app-based business ideas. The students also had the opportunity to connect with and learn from successful female entrepreneurs and tech professionals along the way!
A major highlight of the program was the students’ visit to Google’s Chicago headquarters, where they participated in a panel discussion with a group of Googlers who shared insights from their own experiences as women in the tech industry.
Here’s what some of the students had to say about their experience at Google and throughout Startup Spring Break:
“I was inspired by the fact that even though [the Google panelists] didn’t think that tech could be their future, they still tried—and now here they are!”
– Gabrielle Sumo, Alain Locke Charter Academy
“Hearing from Farah [Community Manager, Employee Resource Groups – Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Google] made me feel inspired to be inclusive on a whole new level because of all the work they’ve done!”
– Aiyana Williams, Joseph Warren Elementary School
“During Startup Spring Break, I learned that it’s okay to change what you wanted to do for your career, because it may lead to something amazing!”
– Angelica Pena, Goethe Elementary School
“What I learned from Future Founders was how to collaborate with people, because I didn’t know anyone in my group at first, but at the end of the program we were able to make a good app!”
– Mae Riordan, Burr Elementary School
“One lesson I will take away from this experience with Future Founders is that, in the end, we are all extremely lucky to have an opportunity like this, and that we should take advantage of it!”
– Jay Mixon, Gary Comer Middle School
“I had a very fun time at Google learning more about how those people work every day, and it helped me and my group finish up our app!”
– Mariah Abraham, Cameron Elementary School
Future Founders would like to thank our friends at Google for welcoming our young people and making this program possible.
We’re especially grateful to Future Founders Board Member Matthew Goldfine, Rob Biederman, and Winton Steward, as well as to the amazing women who generously offered their time and expertise as business coaches and panelists during our visit, including:
We are grateful to the whole team at Google for their continued support of our programming, and their dedication to youth and entrepreneurship across Chicago.
In addition, we’d also like to thank all the incredible volunteers who supported our aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the week, including:
*denotes present Future Founders Fellow and/or program alumni
Throughout the week, the students worked diligently in teams to develop an original business idea. On the program’s final day, each group pitched their business at the Startup Spring Break Pitch Competition.
Here’s a look at the students who were crowned the winners by our panel of judges!
Art Palace: an app-based marketplace where artists can share and sell their work
Future Founders extends our deepest gratitude to all the students, volunteers, and community partners who helped make Startup Spring Break possible.
To learn more about Startup Spring Break, check out our website.
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