by Shelbie Johansson
In the list of 40 Young People Who Became Millionaires Before They Were 20 one will find Robert Nay, who, after launching a Bubble ball game free app withApple at the age of 14 earned $2 million in just two weeks. Farrah Gray, the owner of Farr-Out Food, grossed $1.5 million worth of orders by the time he was 14. Julianne Goldmark and Emily Matson rake in $10 million a year from a hair tie idea inspired when they were in the eighth grade.
Who says kids can’t be entrepreneurs? Nowadays, when parents ask their children what they want to be when they grow up, more and more express innovative ideas and the want to design inventive products. Liya James, the founder of The Next Lab and certified “super woman,” believes in making those children’s ideas a reality.
As an experienced advisor, Liya James has coached and trained a number of product teams, entrepreneurs, and founders of multinational corporations such as, IBM, AT&T, Mercedes-Benz, HP, 3M, LG, Hyundai on bringing and introducing products to the market. She is passionate about helping others discover and use their creative abilities to combine them with their entrepreneurial talents.
“The Next Lab focuses on helping entrepreneurs of all ages take the next step while helping them do so. We are starting with the youth because of our bigger goal. We believe that the college model is unattainable. The cost of college is going to cause a lot of issues. They do not help young people develop the skills that prepare them to be good employees or entrepreneurs. There are only two ways to make money. You can either work for yourself or someone else, and college doesn’t properly prepare you for either,” emphasized James. She went on to explain that The Next Lab’s bigger goal is to build a sustainable model that allows students to prepare for the real world. “It’s more about equipping people to contribute to the world as best they can,” she added.
The one-week summer program offers students a unique opportunity to explore their passions while building business ideas and gaining real life work experience at the same time.
This is how it works:
A coherent, 6-day curriculum plan is offered to students.
- Day 1: Develop business model to VC-sponsored business challenges
- Day 2: Conduct customer validation and pivot
- Day 3: Create prototype of MVP
- Day 4: Validate and develop financial forecast
- Day 5: Finalize pitch
- Day 6: Pitch to a panel of VCs and experts (Winning teams will be awarded with $1,000)
Liya has also shared with us the benefits each student can gain from the program.
Here is what she said:
Students will acquire real life business SKILLS.
In the old days you went to an elite college because it was the only way to gain knowledge. You needed their library because it was the only place you could find information. But today the store of knowledge is on the web. Kids today are becoming savvy but they don’t have real world context to apply that knowledge.
They will gain the ability to embrace CHANGE.
We need to prepare people to embrace change. If a business model changes or industry changes, it often causes them to become irrelevant. We want to start at an early age so they don’t get to that point. I want to help the next generation not have that issue.
They will learn how to PROBLEM SOLVE and overcome failure.
Everyone needs to have a design-thinking mind and embrace technology. This will helps them solve problems and be innovative in the way they approach their work. Whatever it is they want to do as a career, we want to teach them how to be disrupters within those industries.
Whether students want to work at top tech corporations like Twitter, Facebook, and Netflix or express a desire to turn their hobby into a business, now is the right time to start developing the abilities and connections needed to turn dreams into reality.