The Eight Weeks
Week 1: Design Thinking
Students are introduced to the program and learn about the potential products they can make, as well as the machines they will have access to. Using a design thinking process, they will develop three potential products, and program staff will select the one that is most feasible.Weeks 2 and 3: Business Planning and Learning Machines
During this time period, students will learn the elements of a business plan and begin to develop a better idea of how they will make their product successful in the marketplace. At the same time they will be gaining skills to use TechShop tools such as lasercutting, woodworking, welding, sewing, screenprinting, Adobe Illustrator, Autodesk Fusion 360, VCarve, 3D Printing, and more.Week 4: Product Pitch and Investment
Using what they have learned so far, and assisted by program staff, students put together a business plan in the form of a 3-5 minute product pitch presentation. Every student pitches their product to a panel and their peers, "Shark Tank" style. After pitching their product, students receive up to $250 of investment to buy materials and get started on their businesses.Weeks 5 and 6: Build Time
During these two weeks, students will use a build plan that they have developed with staff to get their products and packaging built. Students will get to set their own schedules during these weeks, but will be encouraged to work closely with staff who can offer assistance throughout the process.Week 7: Preparing to Sell
Once products are complete, this week is dedicated to preparing products for market. Practical workshops include things such as product photography, developing a sell sheet to approach retailers, and setting up an online store.Week 8: Merchandising, Pitch Competition, and Final Event
All students participate in the final event, where they share their products in a pop-up market and community celebration. They also have the option to participate in a final pitch competition, where they compete for up to $1000 in prize money. This week is dedicated to preparing pitches and getting ready to sell in the final market.
- Students receive a stipend for up to $500, issued in $100 increments over the course of the summer.
- Students keep the profits earned through the sale of their products.
- Upon successfully completing the program, students get a free year membership to TechShop.
Requirements for Participation
- Must be 16-18 years old. (Exceptions for 15 and 19 year olds occasionally made at staff's discretion)
- Must have the ability to get to and from AlphaLab Gear and TechShop, located in East Liberty, as well as travel to nearby retailers, suppliers and partners.
- Must be available to participate in the entire eight weeks of the program.