New Kansas City event hopes to inspire teen innovation

After years of owning his own small business, William Robison's children had begun to ask questions about owning their own business someday. "As a business owner for as long as they can remember, they have only witnessed this side of the world," he said. "As they mature, I challenge them to explore opportunities of their

After years of owning his own small business, William Robison‘s children had begun to ask questions about owning their own business someday.

“As a business owner for as long as they can remember, they have only witnessed this side of the world,” he said. “As they mature, I challenge them to explore opportunities of their own.”

But Robison didn’t see many entrepreneurially-minded events geared toward teenagers. So he brought the idea to Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation‘s Nate Olson and offered to organize an event for aspiring teenagers himself. The result is Kansas City’s first Teen Idea Labs, scheduled for June 12.

“As adults, we begin to live in a bubble of ever-growing disbeliefs,” Robison said. “These younger minds are willing to challenge these belief systems and develop with better forward thinking minds. These are the next generation of incubator and Kansas City Startup Village residents.”

In collaboration with the Kansas City entrepreneurial community, the one-day event will be filled with mini-seminars to help engage students and inspire young people to “develop innovation for tomorrow.”

The event, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Kansas City’s Kauffman Labs, will include attendance at 1 Million Cups – Kansas City, a keynote speaker and pitch presentations.

“I believe that the future of tech is younger and younger,” he said. “These teenagers will be the prime consumers of tomorrow’s products. Why not give them the opportunity to develop some of those products but also foster conversations with mentors that could learn from them as well?”

Teen Idea Labs is free and open to the students from any community. To register for the event, visit eventbrite.com.

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