Innovative kids swapping the beach for Silicon Valley this summer

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Anirudh Prakash, Devnith De Silva and Jackson Landry (L-R) are off to Silicon Valley

TiE-Vancouver-H-Positive-CMYKThree Victorian high-school students will visit Google, NASA, and Stanford University on an all-expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley on the 19 January.

They’ll also get to network with other young entrepreneurs from around the world and practice their pitching skills, presenting their business idea to local industry leaders.

The students, aged 14, 16 and 17 from Bendigo, Box Hill, and Mount Waverly, won the trip with their idea for a DIY box-set to teach electronics and programming skills. It was presented at the TiE Young Entrepreneurs competition in Melbourne in late 2016.

Jackson Landry, Anirudh Prakash and Devnith De Silva (L-R) are off to Silicon Valley

Jackson Landry, Anirudh Prakash and Devnith De Silva (L-R) are off to Silicon Valley

“If you look at the prize, this is something that you would call life changing,” says Anirudh Prakash, from the winning team.

“You get to go to Silicon Valley, and meet the people who are the big shots, who know everything about business.”

The winning team developed a business plan to market low-cost boxed-set electronic components to students and hobbyists. The components would be ordered online either for a specific product or through a monthly subscription service, where the subscriber would receive a specific package each month. In addition to the products there would be an educational guide to teach customers how to program the equipment. The unique aspects of this offering are the educational aspect of teaching programming, in addition to the low cost of hardware.

“I’ve been impressed by the enthusiasm of the students—they’ve done a great job of working together as a team, which you have to,” says mentor Rod Smith, who will accompany his winning team to America.

“They’ve tackled this project with enthusiasm, and have been open to new ideas. I’m very heartened by the whole experience.”

It’s the first time Australia has run the TiE Young Entrepreneurs competition—a program designed to teach entrepreneurship and business skills to high school students through practical experience and mentoring.

The program aims to educate students to become the next generation of entrepreneurs by taking their creative innovations and turning them into business plans. The students learn business strategy, leadership, marketing and finance together with team-building and presentation skills.

You can watch a video of the final, including interviews with the students here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2so2kklvrw

About TiE Young Entrepreneurs

TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) is a global program aimed at fostering our future generations of entrepreneurs. TYE focuses on teaching entrepreneurship to high school students and helping them discover the rewards and challenges of becoming an entrepreneur. During the program the students form teams, go through classroom session modules focused on different aspects of business and entrepreneurship, then write their own business plans. Teams compete to win a trip to visit entrepreneurial companies such as Google in Silicon Valley.

The program has been adopted successfully by TiE Melbourne in conjunction with its partner organisations Digital Careers and Swinburne University.

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