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Boot camp for teen entrepreneurs opens next week

The Bosque School in Albuquerque is taking the “Startup Weekend” three-day boot camp for aspiring entrepreneurs to the next level by offering a weeklong boot camp for youth.

At the event, which runs from July 14-18 for high-school students, participants will learn about the basics of being an entrepreneur and launching and building a startup company, said Eric Renz-Whitmore, a Startup Weekend event organizer and community manager for the New Mexico Technology Council.

“It will offer students a window into the entrepreneurial mindset, with practical, hands-on experience into what entrepreneurialism and building a business is all about,” Renz-Whitmore said. “Whether they do or don’t pursue entrepreneurial ventures, those skills are very valuable for any industry they decide to go into.”

Since last year, about 250 people have participated in six Startup Weekends in New Mexico, where anyone with a startup idea is invited to work with like-minded individuals for three days to test and develop their proposed products and services with mentoring and feedback from investors and experienced entrepreneurs. Those boot camps culminate in mock investor pitches by participating teams.

During teen startup week, students will hear stories from entrepreneurs about their experiences, plus presentations about what a startup is and why entrepreneurialism matters, said Lawrence Chavez, a serial entrepreneur and investor whose daughter is participating in the program.

Experts will walk students through the basics of validating a new product or service, while mentoring them as they work on building business plans around their own ideas. Like Startup Weekend boot camps, the youth program also will culminate in investor pitches by the students.

“This is important for these kids, and it’s important for our community, because it exposes them to new opportunities and options for when they graduate that they may not know exist,” Chavez said.

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