How LaunchX gives students the tools they need to deal with adversity
“An entrepreneurial mindset is about adaptability and resourcefulness,” says LaunchX founder Laurie Stach. “Entrepreneurs see challenges as opportunities and find ways to solve problems.”
Despite the economic harm caused by the pandemic, a new wave of entrepreneurs has thrived. All over the world, people are coming together to help one another and create new services, and many of these are former LaunchX students, who have stepped up in a variety of ways, through both their start-ups and in their communities.
With a mission to empower young people to build the future, LaunchX offers entrepreneurship programs to young people who want to make a difference.
LaunchX teaches resilience… and so much more
An entrepreneurial mindset and its attendant skills are becoming increasingly crucial in this rapidly evolving world. Whatever career today’s high school students ultimately pursue, they are going to have to constantly adapt and innovate in order to succeed.
Laurie Stach realized this herself when she found her extensive education and degrees were not enough on their own to make it in the real world.
“Education taught me that there was only one right answer to every question, but I found this was not the way the real world worked. You have to be resourceful, adaptable, innovative and resilient,” she says.
Stach founded LaunchX to teach high school students these crucial entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, effectively a toolbox for resilience.
How it works
The LaunchX summer program sees students form teams and create real business. The young entrepreneurs are guided through the process by the innovative LaunchX course materials, business workshops, keynote speakers and experienced staff, and constructive feedback from successful mentors and industry experts.
Students are also surrounded by switched-on peers, who provide moral support and a sense of community to help them overcome obstacles and build their business.
They are encouraged to let their entrepreneurial spirits soar as they gain insights into the secrets of running a successful enterprise.
“Starting a company and experiencing the time demands, changing market pressures, team dynamics and inevitable difficulties, is the single best way young people can set themselves up for future success,” Stach says.
LaunchX alumni pandemic startups
Here are just a few of the stories of LaunchX alumni and students who have embraced the call to help their communities during the pandemic.
Wave Learning Festival
In response to the educational disparities exacerbated by the pandemic, LaunchX alum Karly Hou founded Wave Learning Festival, an online education platform.
The platform serves 15,000 students from all 50 states and aims to create a world where any student, regardless of socioeconomic background or location, can access the help they need to excel in school, explore new interests and ignite a love for learning.
Wave Learning Festival offers more than 500 diverse, free courses, 3000 hours of tutoring, college pathways, and career mentoring. It works directly with more than 600 schools, libraries and community organizations to serve low-income and homeless adolescents.
Makers for COVID-19
LaunchX alumnae Karina Popovich, a freshman at Cornell University, founded Makers for COVID-19, a global community that donates time and materials to make medical-grade PPE for hospitals.
Soon after returning home from university with her 3D printers, she began researching and producing masks. Since its founding, Makers for COVID-19 has grown production capacity to 20,000 units per week with the support of other makers.
The organization has members from 25 states in the US and six countries, and serves more than 33 hospitals.
Aaliyah Sayed, a 2019 LaunchX alumnae, founded 19CovAid, a coronavirus mutual aid platform. Volunteers and recipients can use 19CovAid to find each other and communicate privately.
Sayed noticed how many people needed aid and how many more wanted to help, but there was no way for them to connect. Cov19Aid users can browse for opportunities in their area or offer their services.
The site already has more than 200 users and the Cov19Aid team has also formed partnerships with local help groups to provide a platform to manage volunteer requests.
Dhwani Sreenivas, another LaunchX 2019 alumnus, created fEmpower with a group of friends earlier this year. They offer a six-day introductory coding curriculum for young girls that is simple, web-based, and self-guided.
Prior to the pandemic, a local elementary school tried the curriculum and received tons of positive feedback. fEmpower has now released the online curriculum to the public. This is a helpful resource for elementary students to learn coding basics while at home this spring or summer.
3D Printing Ear-Savers
Another 3D printing enthusiast from last year’s program, Nav Malhotra, has created ‘ear-savers’, which are plastic headbands that enable people to wear masks without using ear elastics.
He was one of 300 local makers who printed innovative solutions to fight the pandemic. Alibaba Singapore has ordered Ear-Savers to distribute in their packages.
The pandemic pushed the world into a new normal, one that is still evolving. As new challenges arise, entrepreneurs will have to adapt and navigate uncertainty. Empowering students with an entrepreneurial mindset will enable them to do this, regardless of the economic situation.
This is the spirit of an entrepreneur – to overcome obstacles and solve difficulties.
LaunchX provides education programs that cultivate this entrepreneurial mindset and attitude, as well as encouraging an altruistic sense of community.