#SQUADGOALS FOR BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS
Written on the 9 December 2015 by Laura Daquino
#SQUADGOALS isn't just for Taylor Swift fans, but the name of a new school camp for budding entrepreneurs launched by Startup Apprentice and The Rogue and Rouge Foundation.
The local social enterprises are collaborating and providing an opportunity for 30 future leaders to head to Rebel Valley in the Gold Coast Hinterland in January 2016 and learn leadership and business creation skills as they undertake a fast-tracked, real-world startup journey.
The three-day #SquadGoals Camp 2016 for 15 to 17 year olds complements a new one-day program, Startup Apprentice Express, which local schools including Helensvale SHS, King Christian College and Varsity College already ran in Term 4 this year.
The experience-based learning 'bridges a gap between book-smarts and street-smarts' and students come out the other end with a digital business or social enterprise ready for a panel of judges.
The bridging of that gap has CEO and founder of The Rogue and Rouge Foundation, Nicole Gibson (pictured right, second from left), and Finalist for Gold Coast Business News' 2015 Social Entrepreneur of the Year written all over it.
Leaving mainstream school at 14 as a 'gifted' student in academic terms, Gibson ventured into an acting academy before early burn out and the realisation mental health is paramount.
After 'hitting rock bottom and something switching' she decided to undertake a cross-country journey, Champions of Change, visiting schools and educating on the importance of emotional awareness.
At 23 years old, she's now the youngest National Mental Health Commissioner to be appointed in the Commonwealth and has facilitated more than 2500 workshops for 200,000 people across Australia.
"It's so crucial that young people are exposed to different styles of learning, and encouraged to look at both their values and belief systems to give them solid foundations to thrive in and beyond high school," says Gibson to Gold Coast Business News.
"The prospect of Startup Apprentice and The Rogue & Rouge Foundation coming together excites me, as both messages are so powerful, and so complimentary."
Darren Rackemann, Startup Apprentice Program Director, says the newly launched workshop and #SquadGoals camp are ideal for giving young people a 'taste of the lean startup culture' that so many aspire to emulate.
"We introduce students to entrepreneurial thinking, working in teams, emerging technologies and business communication to give them a taste of the lean startup culture and 21st century learning framework," says Rackemann.
"We have had a good response from Gold Coast schools and the new subsidy will make this fantastic suite of programs even more accessible."
The subsidy is funding from Telstra Gold Coast under a new corporate sponsorship initiative committed to improving access to entrepreneurial education in local schools. Under the initiative, schools can apply to have a portion of the program fees subsidised.
Sam Winter, co-founder of Startup Apprentice, says the partnership does wonders for the social enterprise's scope which began as an eight-week high school program in 2013 led by himself and co-founder Sharon Hunneybell and has since seen through 250 students.
"Telstra have shown a commitment to encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship at a grassroots level on the Gold Coast," says Winter.
"Several of the student teams have gone on to participate in and win the Gold Coast Mayor's Telstra Technology Awards and a number of students have progressed their businesses with several ready to formally launch new applications and services to the market.
"We want to continue providing access to role models and business people who are walking the walk that students wouldn't otherwise have access to."
Pictured above left: #SquadGoals Team Nicole Gibson, Sam Winter, Darren Rackemann with Helensvale SHS students Caitlin French & Taylah Drews, who graduated Startup Apprentice Express this week with a social business, War Horse, tapping into their passions of horses.