This post was authored by a LaunchX alum and cofounder of Spark Teen, Kyler Wang. Kyler and his cofounder Kai Fine were inspired by fellow Launchies to expand a local community event to create a global platform where teen entrepreneurs learn from one another, receive mentorship, and pitch their ideas. Read the full blog to learn about the inspiration for Spark Teen.
My friend Kai and I first launched Spark Teen Market in our sleepy hometown of Portland, Oregon. Inspired by the Portland Night Market, our vision was a yearly festival -- Spark Teen Market -- featuring local teen businesses, live music, and food and drink. We aimed to capture the excited, almost frenetic energy of the night market to create an incredible, shared entrepreneurial experience for teens.
At the first Spark Teen Market in downtown Portland, we felt the warmth of our community, the spark of innovation, and the buzz of excitement in the air. The event was a success, drawing 50 teen vendors and over 500 attendees, generating thousands of dollars for our vendors. Spark Teen Market became a celebration of innovation, youth empowerment, and entrepreneurship, a space where sparks fly and ideas catch flame.
At LaunchX, I felt that same entrepreneurial energy I felt at the market. I met teens from all over the world, doers and innovators passionate enough to work hard and brave enough to dream big. I formed intensely strong friendships and found mentors that I’ll keep for the rest of my life. The people I met at LaunchX inspired me to innovate, persevere, and think outside the box, a spirit that I still carry with me today. They shared my passion for entrepreneurship, understanding that it wasn’t just a job title but a framework for living life.
My fellow Launchies helped expand Spark Teen’s vision from a yearly local event to a global entrepreneurial launchpad for teens. Other teens from around the globe, many of them LaunchX alumni, are now bringing this vision to their communities through regional Spark Teen Pitchfests, where teens can pitch to a panel of judges for thousands of dollars in return-free investments.
We also launched Spark Teen Cohort, an online entrepreneurship incubator that aims to capture the spirit of the night market. With an entrepreneurship competition with over $10,000 in prizes and free mentorship and resources, it’s a community built for high-school entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. Whether you just have an idea or already have a product on the market, this is for you.
If you have any questions, share our vision and want to bring Spark Teen to your community, or want to work for Spark Teen, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for Spark Teen’s spring 2020 accelerator challenge are open until May 17th. We’re excited to follow along and see what these teen entrepreneurs create!