Disclosure: In partnership with VentureLab, this post is the first in a series about their summer camps. In exchange for learning and sharing about VentureLab’s camps, I am being provided with complimentary camps for my children to attend. No other compensation will be received and all opinions are mine.
Lots of camps and programs teach kids valuable STEM skills. But what do kids do with those skills once they’ve acquired them? VentureLab, a nonprofit located right here in San Antonio, inspires children to think as business leaders through their STEM summer camps with an entrepreneurial twist. VentureLab offers the only kids’ camps in the country bringing STEM and entrepreneurship together!
During one of last year’s VentureLab camps, a team of girls as young as five-years-old brainstormed problems in their daily life and how they might select and solve one of them with a business idea. One child who got into trouble for eating Play Doh came up with the idea to create edible Play Doh.
Next, the girls began market research. They interviewed other kids at the camp to see what colors and flavors might be popular and how much people would be willing to pay for such a product. Then, they analyzed the data. Creating product prototypes came next followed by development of their marketing plan which included taking photos and creating a website. Once complete, they pitched their business to their instructors and the other camp attendees. After the website launch, the kids sold their edible Play Doh online and split the profits. Each child in the group walked away with about $20 they made from their new business during camp that week!
The camps are based in science and core educational classes that students need anyway, but VentureLab turns the learning into fun group activities. The entrepreneurial side of camp opens the kids’ eyes to all of the possibilities available to them. Camp attendees begin to visualize themselves as business creators and leaders.
When VentureLab started last year, they offered girls-only camps. Throughout CEO Cristal Glangchai’s career as a mechanical and biomedical engineer, she noticed an appalling lack of women working in her chosen profession. She set out to change that when she took a teaching position at Trinity University focused on entrepreneurship and engineering.
VentureLab grew out of Glangchai’s desire to spark excitement in girls about STEM and entrepreneurial work and to cultivate an environment where girls felt empowered and comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions.
Most girls—really, most children—aren’t told they can start a company. I only knew it was an option because my father was an entrepreneur. I created VentureLab to tell kids, starting at 5-years-old, that using their creative ideas to start a business is an option for them.”
– Cristal Glangchai, CEO of VentureLab
The result in 2013 was a fantastic and fascinating set of summer camps where Glangchai and the other instructors were thrilled to see girls get loud and excited while brainstorming and creating their products, researching target markets, and pitching their businesses.
After local parents saw the spark the camps ignited in the girls, they began asking for camps for boys too. This year, VentureLab introduces co-ed classes to their offerings.
Weeklong camps this summer wrap around varying themes, including: startup, gamer, urban farmer, and recyclepreneur. Girls-only and co-ed camps are now available and kids are separated by age group (5-7, 8-10, 11-13, and 14-19). Each camp’s curriculum is age appropriate and there is one camp instructor for every five children.
Visit the VentureLab website to register for this summer’s camps. A week of camp is just $285 and scholarships are available. Plus, you’ll have a chance to win a free week of VentureLab co-ed startup camp for your child in the next post in this series from San Antonio Mom Blogs so be sure to check back for details soon!
VentureLab in the news:
Wall Street Journal: Teaching Children How to Be Entrepreneurs
News 4 San Antonio: VentureLab offers more than the usual summer camp