Start-Up Kids: Westlake Elementary

Start-Up Kids: Encouraging Entrepreneurship From A Young Age

Published on Feb 17th, 2015

RKS led a workshop at Westlake Elementary School as a part of the Start-Up Kids enrichment program encouraging students to develop entrepreneurial mindsets. Cal Lutheran University Dean and long time RKS friend, Dr. Gerhard Apfelthaler, initiated this program fulfilling its mission that it is never too early to inspire. Stimulating independent thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills is vital at an elementary level as minds are best formed at a young age.

It is important for children to be exposed to all career possibilities, including those that are less conventional. Scott Clear, RKS Chief Design and Innovation Officer, introduced the kids to some of the awe-inspiring creations of industrial design. The group gained knowledge of the differences between the right and left brain and the amazing things that can happen when both creatively inclined and logically inclined people work together to achieve a mutual goal.

Volunteers from the class were given the opportunity to redesign a travel coffee mug with the features they thought were most important for usability. Their bright and uninhibited minds came to incredible, original solutions including a contracting and expanding base that fits snugly into any size cup holder, heating mechanisms, and even password protected lid locking.

After proudly and passionately presenting their ideas to the class, the young designers got to take home prizes of RKS designed GameVice gaming controller and Kor Water bottles, both of which are flourishing start-up companies. Both Kor Water and GameVice started out with just an idea and since have built strong businesses through design and innovation. The program emphasizes the importance of showing kids that they can turn any vision that they have into reality.

The local Start-Up Kids program has been highly successful and it is growing rapidly. If, starting from this young age, kids were made aware of all of the opportunities they have, including taking their unique ideas, bringing them to reality, and starting their own businesses, we can only imagine how much fuller their lives would be. Children have a great way of pointing out problems and outlandish solutions that our inhibited minds could never have conceived. Those crazy ideas kids come up with could often turn into the most refreshing and revolutionary innovations we see.

“It is never too early to inspire.”