Sunday, July 25, 2021

Summer Of Innovation Program Encourages Youth Entrepreneurship

Children and teens who want to stretch their creativity skills are invited to participate in the Summer of Innovation Program, a national program for students in grades 3 through 12. The Summer of Innovation Program is powered by YELLOW, a nonprofit founded by national recording artist and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams.

The online entrepreneurial program first began in the summer of 2020 in response to the pandemic after STEAMM summer camp programs for underserved children in Hampton Roads and other locations across the country were cancelled.

“We’re heavily focused on entrepreneurship for children, and thought a virtual, self-guided challenge would be a great way for kids to stay motivated throughout the summer, thus the Summer of Innovation was born,” explained Stephanie Walters, director of engagement for YELLOW.

The program is designed for children who have an idea for a product or service, or who just want to learn more about entrepreneurship. Participants who register have access to exclusive content provided by the Billionaire Boys Club, in which industry professionals share stories through the program’s Campfire Chats. Participants receive other resources as well, including weekly content to help them on their entrepreneurial journey, access to the program’s SOI Playbook and Brainstorm Map, and other materials to help them make their pitch and presentation successful.

Students must submit pitches and presentations for review by August 6.  The panel of judges includes Pharrell Williams, Marques Colston, and Felicia Hatcher.

“We just expect students to be as creative as possible and really think outside the box,” Walters said. “We’re hopeful that the resources and content we’re providing them will help guide them in the right direction to create something impactful for their home, community, or school.”

Three prizes will be awarded at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The Summer of Innovation program is free, virtual, and self-guided. To register for the program, visit www.summerofinnovation.org.

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