New bootcamp for teenaged students: ‘It’s time to recognize Gen Z’s potential’

Diana Baranga said too little is being done to mobilize youth potential within tech entrepreneurship in Montreal. The city may have a strong startup community, but too many high school students don’t know they have access to it.

That’s why Baranga, a cofounder at MTL UpStarts, is readying for the organization’s entrepreneurship bootcamp for students at Notman House November 18 to 20. 

“The truth is that 14 to 18-year-olds are catching up to all of us and they have great ideas,” Baranga told MTLinTECH. “We need to give them the tools they need and get them into our community. We have a great thing going here in Montreal but I feel like we’re lacking the voice of the youngest generation.”

MTL UpStarts

MTL UpStarts organizers from left, Diana Baranga and Bonnie Chau

The weekend bootcamp seeks to give high-school aged students interested in entrepreneurship a quick overview of business fundamentals. This includes how to pitch an idea, market a product and even how to build a product.

Baranga said the objective isn’t for students to come out of the weekend with a tangible business plan. Rather, it’s the learning and fun aspects. She hopes they take lessons from experts in the community and possibly get further mentorship after.

The organizers are hoping between 60 and 80 students register.

The theme of the first edition of MTL UpStarts is “The Smart School.” The weekend will specifically focus on how technology and the Internet of Things can be leveraged to improve academic and extracurricular experiences. “Students will be encouraged to identify the real-world problems they encounter daily at school and will be provided with the resources  and mentorship they need in order to find tech-driven solutions,” boasts MTL UpStart’s website.

Baranga and cofounder Bonnie Chau said the event is still finalizing its roster of mentors, coaches and community leaders.

Baranga works at an education startup in Montreal. Creating MTL UpStarts was her way of giving high school students the chance to “know that theres this universe out there and to empower them from an early age, because we both wish we had known about it sooner.”

“We need to place a lot more focus on generation Z than we’re doing right now,” she said.

“When we were trying to come up with the program for the event we did analysis on what exists right now. Some high schools have entrepreneurship programs, but nothing to connect between high schools and to bring students into Montreal’s entrepreneurship bubble.”

“We know where a lot of experience and talent lies, so I feel like its our responsibility to pull those kids in. We have a great thing going here in our city, it’s just a matter of reinvesting that knowledge into this generation that’s catching up to us so quickly,” said Baranga.

Interested students can sign up here.


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