Conversations about the first ever High School Startup Weekend officially began in an eStem classroom with students from the Noble Impact course. During that conversation, it was evident that students thought it was a good idea but no one really knew how much time and effort it would take. Therefore, High School Startup Weekend became a project in which the students became engaged and invested. From choosing the t-shirt vendor, to writing blogs to raising money, the Noble Impact students embraced ambiguity and made it happen.
Initial momentum started when four students visited and pitched Startup Weekend to the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group. Prior to their visit, this student group formed in order to address the fundraising portion of Startup Weekend. Their goal was to seek funding that would pay for all student participants, thus giving free admission to all teams that would eventually sign up.
In a conference room on the morning of January 31st, the fundraising team of four 10th graders (Duncan Ragsdell, Clifford Chirwa, Sydney Brazil, and Landon Laster) introduced Startup Weekend to the executive team and asked for support. Three days later, they received what they asked for – the Arkansas Capital Corporation agreed to sponsor all the students that would participate in the first ever High School Startup Weekend.
As Jim Collins would probably say, this was a big push to the “flywheel” and it was in direct relation to students making a connection with a community organization. Little did they know it would garner more support and more commitment from additional companies, organizations, and institutions, totaling over $20,000 in sponsorships and prizes.
As an entity that empowers entrepreneurs, Arkansas Capital Corporation Group deserves a lot of credit for being the first Platinum Sponsor for High School Startup Weekend. Their willingness to listen to students and commitment to entrepreneurial education is what builds our collective entrepreneurship ecosystem.
From Arkansas Capital Corporation Group:
The Arkansas Capital Corporation Group is honored to have this opportunity to partner with Noble Impact for the first Arkansas High School Startup Weekend. We hope to see many startup weekend participants as competitors in future Y.E.S. 2.0 and Governor’s Cup competitions – and as future customers of our entrepreneurial and small business lending companies.