We’re planning lots of exciting things at STEAMLabs for this fall, and one of the biggest and most exciting is our Zero to Startup program, run in partnership with Ryerson and Celestica.

ZerotoStartup is a 13 week program built around a seemingly simple question: what if we could give young people the courage, confidence and skills to take risk, embrace innovation, defy the status quo and create their own future?

To achieve these goals, the ZerotoStartup curriculum teaches a combination of hard skills–web design, programming and basic graphic design skills–as well as soft skills such as critical thinking and teamwork. Every activity is designed to expand participants’ knowledge and increase their confidence.

Building a Sustainable Future

This year’s ZerotoStartup program activities will centre around the idea of sustainability. We’ll spend the first three weeks introducing participants to different kinds of technology and discussing how technology impacts a person’s carbon footprint. We’ll also talk about how new technology can help us create a sustainable society. How can we make existing technology more environmentally friendly? What new devices can we use to combat our pollution problem? Kids will be asked to answer these at different times during the first three weeks of the program.

In week four participants¬†will be “hired” to create their very own sustainability-enhancing device, a garden gnome that monitors a community garden and reminds people to take care of the plants. The group will be split up into teams for the activity, but the teams will all have to work together, demonstrating how many people it can take to make an idea become reality.

Participants will get to practice pitching products during week four when they present the finished garden gnome to the STEAMLabs design team.

Creating New Products

Week five of the ZerotoStartup program will take the form of a massive pitch student. Participants will bring in their own ideas for awesome products and do a 60-second pitch.They can choose to do this pitch on their own or in a group, and they can choose to skip the pitch session if they’re more interested in working on somebody else’s project. The STEAMLabs team will offer feedback on these ideas and the group will discuss them for around half an hour.

After half an hour participants will vote for their three favourite ideas. Teams will be formed to work on the three most popular ideas. Kids will be assigned to teams based on a combination of their interests and skills. STEAMLabs will choose the teams to make sure they’re well rounded.

Teams will dive right into planning their products in week six. Each team will be assigned an entrepreneur mentor to help them develop a coherent plan. By the end of this session participants should know exactly what they need to do to prepare for their presentation in week 13.

During the final weeks of the program STEAMLabs will be divided into stations so everyone has space to work on different aspects of their product.

Presentation Time!

During week 13 teams will have the opportunity to pitch their products to a panel of experts. These experts will give feedback on each team’s product and presentation. At the end of the day, the teams with the “best” products–as chosen by our panel of experts–will be awarded prizes!

Does this sound perfect for your kid(s)? Apply today!