During the summer of 2015, I was building an Austin startup resource site (www.startupinfomatters.com) with my daughter, who was seven at the time, and she asked me the following questions:
- Who is this website for?
- Why would they go there?
- How are people going to know about it?
It dawned on me how relevant (and truthful) these questions were to the success of this site. I wanted to know more about how she thought so I pitched her real startup ideas from real entrepreneurs. More great questions surfaced! I pitched her again and again and realized she was developing skills for asking key questions underlining success while learning about how businesses work at the same time. And having a lot of fun with dad in the process!
I got to thinking. What if the kids judged real entrepreneurial pitches? Could kids teach entrepreneurs how to refine their pitches while giving unfiltered and valuable feedback? What if we could teach kids critical thinking skills leveraging the Socratic Method by evaluating startup pitches from entrepreneurs? Could entrepreneurs teach kids how to problem solve and make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) more pertinent and fun for kids?
And thus Pitch-a-Kid was born. Instead of having the judges be adult venture capitalists we’ve turned the tables on the entrepreneurs and have kids judge their pitches. If your pitch doesn’t make sense to elementary school aged kids you probably aren’t ready for an angel investor or venture capitalist.
The Pitch-a-Kid event is designed to push entrepreneurs to refine their pitches to make sense to kids (without being condescending) and allows kids to develop critical thinking skills drawing from Bloom’s Taxonomy of Education/Webb’s Depth of Knowledge leveraging the Socratic Method – asking questions of the entrepreneurs. This inquisitive process establishes a solid foundation creating college and career ready children for our community. And maybe will inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in the process!
Mike Millard, Co-Founder and CEO