With a surplus of jobs, lack of local venture capitalists and the problem of retaining homegrown talent within the industry, the future of Vancouver’s tech scene has always been up for a little bit of a worrisome debate. Connecting to youth has been the loudest solution ranging from suggestions of implementing coding into the education system to “teaching it to your kids at a young age”.
Launch Academy is taking that solution with a twist. Last year, the entrepreneurial accelerator program lay out an opportunity and waited for students to make their own moves into getting into tech themselves. “We didn’t think it would go great. We waited and got only a handful of submissions,” Launch Academy Community Coordinator, Jackie Murchison admitted, “Then out of nowhere we got 30 submissions just before the deadline.”
The Student Start-Up Challenge was met with electric success and garnered in submissions ranging from event management, research based services to 3D printing. “We tell students when they join that they don’t need to have a prototype but just the idea,” Jackie emphasized. “Bitcoin has been becoming a big thing and it’d be really cool to see something around something that’s trending but we really don’t have a restriction on what you could pursue.”
Jr. Developer, Joseph, whose entry involves getting dogs in the right homes with an ethical standard is no exception of one of the many ideas that coming through the competition. As a Lighthouse Lab alumni, Joseph’s experience at Launch Academy nurtured his already entrepreneurial minded motivations. “Whether or not we win, just competing, making the one minute video and getting the feedback is super valuable,” Joseph detailed, “ Going out and competing solidifies the idea more and makes it a reality.”
After training to become a developer, when fellow Lighthouse Labs graduates took the traditional route of getting placed, Joseph opted out of his internship to start his own endeavours and co-founded, Fetch. “The number one thing was the connections you make in the space. You meet other start ups, other entrepreneurs, other developers,” Joe added.
Submission for the Student Start-Up Challenge close May 23, 2014 and the top 5 companies receives 3 months of free office space at Launch Academy, mentorship, free events, free perks and a chance to win up to $5000. All entries must have a tech aspect.
“From my personal experience in school, so much focus is on joining a corporation and being part of big brands and not making your own,” Jackie concluded, “It’s a cool industry to start. Everyone’s just a big supporter into joining something other than a mainstream line of work.”
Launch Academy is an accelerator program based in Gastown providing mentorship, space, perks and events for entrepreneurs.
Lighthouse Labs is Vancouver’s premiere developer bootcamp specializing in Ruby on Rails. For more information on the course materials, instructors and all round kick-ass coding follow VancityBuzz’s exclusive Lighthouse Labs blog ‘The Ro Code’.
Featured Image: Start line business man via Shutterstock