On May 15, 16, and 17, entrepreneurs and creative minds will be taking over Lake Washington Girls Middle School – Seattle’s first middle school for girls – for a Startup Weekend like no other: one specifically designed for fifth through tenth grade GIRLS. Organizers and volunteers of Startup Weekend GIRLS have been working to ensure that this event provides not only inspiration, but also the resources required for building and launching a viable, scalable company. There has never been a Startup Weekend designed specifically for girls; it feels only natural that it happens first here in Seattle, and at a school for girls that was a startup in its own right.
Startup Weekends are about learning through the act of creating. Participants don’t just listen to theory; they present their own ideas, build their own products, and put them to test while collaborating with like-minded, passionate individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and points of view. On top of that, Startup Weekenders receive invaluable one-on-one time with the movers and shakers within the community, as local tech and startup leaders take part in Startup Weekends as mentors/coaches and judges. Some of the people we have lined up for this year include Rebecca Lovell (Startup Liaison, City of Seattle), Monica Guzman (GeekWire), Casi Schwisow (Girls Who Code), T.A. McCann (RivalIQ), Stacey Kinked (Rivet & Cuff), Bryan Lhuillier (Shiftboard), and Zach Smith (Substantial).
Startup Weekend GIRLS Edition is specially designed for the next generation’s entrepreneurs-in-the-making, fifth through tenth grade girls. Our team of highly innovative and connected mentors and judges will create an atmosphere of exercises and experiences that will teach girls how to come up with business ideas, conduct market research, prototype, work in teams, and “pitch” their ideas to a room full of people. Our goal is to give girls the confidence to innovate and create they will need to succeed in all aspects of life.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model – which will massaged a little bit to fit the needs of our aspiring entrepreneurs: participants pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote), and then it’s a frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.
If you’d like to get involved with Startup Weekend GIRLS, let us know here. If you are a girl in fifth through tenth grade and would like to participate, get your tickets soon...we only have 35-40 spots!
We hope to see you there!
About Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014. The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.
About Lake Washington Girls Middle School
Lake Washington Girls Middle School, Seattle's first middle school for girls, is located in Central Seattle, is a place where girls explore, experiment, discover, create, and learn about themselves and the world around them. Since 1998, LWGMS has challenged its students with high standards and helped every LWGMS girl find the tools she needs to succeed. Here, girls are empowered to think critically, develop leadership, and enjoy learning through an integrated curriculum that has proven to prepare girls for success in high school honors and college preparation courses.
Our students are learning to use tools that will serve them well: hand tools, power tools, digital tools, and the tools of their own strong voices. They work with computing platforms alongside hammers and saws and sewing machines. They are taking apart computers and building their own. They are making films, which allows them to own and create media in a way that no generation before them could do. They are sewing clothes that light up and they are 3-D printing a robotic hand. More importantly, they are learning that they have the power to solve problems, to innovate, and to invent. And that is really what we are teaching them: to find solutions, to overcome obstacles. We are teaching them that struggle and failure are normal – and that effort is a crucial part of eventual success.
The creative confidence the girls get while they are at Lake Washington Girls Middle School completely translates beyond any classroom.