This weekend I took my kids to see the Chemistry Magic Show at Carleton University. My kids really enjoyed it and we had a great time. These types of programs are wonderful at getting children interested in science. From making slime to eating liquid nitrogen ice cream, my kids saw first hand how cool and amazing science can be.
Which got me thinking. What would a similar outreach program for entrepreneurship look like? What would be the Startup Magic Show?
A first question is do we really need entrepreneurship outreach in the same way we need science outreach? With the success of the movie “The Social Network” and prominent entrepreneurs from Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to Dennis Crowley and Jack Dorsey plastered on magazines and billboards, is there a problem attracting bright young people into the entrepreneurship path?
Governments and universities sure think so. I can rattle off a dozen programs focused on encouraging entrepreneurship within Ontario alone. These include city run incubators, college dorms dedicated to entrepreneurs, and government assistance through education, grants and loans. All aimed at young, first time entrepreneurs.
So assuming we want to reach out and encourage students to become entrepreneurs, what would an outreach program aimed at children look like? Would it resemble a hackathon, where kids get together with mentors for a day and build an app? One that they can download to their parent’s phone for $0.99 (all proceeds going to charity of course). We could track how much the app generates for charity.
Or could we demonstrate the magic of viral marketing? Take an idea and watch it spread in real time while tracking it around the world. Maybe overlay location of people responding onto a map of the world. Could that capture some of the magic that those of working in startups experience?
If we are serious about encouraging the next generation to explore entrepreneurship, let’s take a page from other disciplines. What would a Startup Magic Show look like?