This Saturday, the Taos Entrepreneurial Network is hosting the first-ever Taos Teen Challenge, an entrepreneurial event for 13 – 19 year olds. TEN has been wanting to do a teen event for some time, to foster new ideas and support young people in our community who may someday want to start a business.
The event, held all day Saturday (9am – 4pm) at the Old Taos County Courthouse, will bring together Taos teens in small groups to create ideas, design a project, and present to a panel of local business and civic leaders. Each member of the winning team will be awarded $50, and will be entered into a September Startup Weekend event in Los Alamos.
The event was first described to me as “sort of like the Shark Tank,” the reality TV show in which hopeful entrepreneurs pitch ideas to snarky rich people, and are often roundly abused for their absurdity. Naturally, I asked TEN facilitator Jason Pfeifer about any similarities.
“Well, it’s kind of like the Shark Tank in the sense that these youth will group up and present an idea to a panel of judges,” said Pfeifer. “It’s not like the Shark Tank at all in the sense that they’re not going to get beat up about their ideas. It’ll be a very supportive environment.”
In fact, the groups of teens will be assigned mentors for the day — experienced local business people who can help steer them as they hash out their ideas and develop their presentation. TEN can still use a few more mentors and judges, so if either job interests you, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know!
There’s also still plenty of room for teen participants, so spread the word to all those budding young masterminds you know. “We want to it to be an educational experience for youth,” says Pfeifer. “We want them to get a sense of what it’s like to take an idea and see it become something that could fly.”
Plus, TEN will be providing pizza for lunch. Youth empowerment, cash prizes, AND free food? What more could you want?