For the first time, MetaBronx tech startups came to the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering (BASE) and presented their work to a class of students. In this case it was Jon Mannion's 12th grade Computer Science class, since 21st century entrepreneurship is so dependent on digital technology.
In this photo you see Sarah Poyet, founder of The Glass Files, explaining what her startup does and why. A number of startup founders presented, including:
- Alanson Boyd from Vibrints
- Chanez Baali from NYCNAK
- Charlie Summers from The Concourse Group
- Joswell Valdez from grupo
- Marlin Jenkins from Neture
- Miguel Sanchez from Mass Ideation
- Philip M Shearer from MetaBronx
It was a very productive visit because digital technology is completely integrated into the lives of youth, the first generation to grow up with smartphones a pervasive part of daily activities. As a result, the students knew exactly what the founders were talking about and were in a position to ask excellent questions.
The best question from a student was about Neture, which is founded by Marlin Jenkins, a startup looking to solve the problem of home internet access for the 30% of bronx households that don't currently have it.
This excellent question was: "Are you guys making internet yourselves?" It's very difficult to answer that question because in one sense, it's impossible to make your own internet since by definition the internet exists because there are so many devices connected to it; but in another sense, lower income communities, such as the one served by BASE, are largely ignored by giant Internet Service Providers (ISP), and therefore have to design their own network, which in turn will plug in to the Wide Area Network (WAN) of the internet.
As far as i can remember, this is the very first time everyone saw StartUp Learning™ in action, and as such it was a historic day.
Since then, more than 400 students from 25 high schools have become apprentices at 18 tech startups, learning all the skills necessary to build a business in the 21st century, and going on to get excellent jobs in all sectors of the economy.