It was an enterprising week for the junior class at King’s Academy as they took part in Startup with Purpose, a five-day entrepreneurship boot camp organized by the University of California, Berkeley in partnership with King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan from January 6 to 13.
It was the first time that Startup with Purpose was held at a boarding school in the Middle East. The 210 participants included high school students from King’s Academy and university students from Jordan, the United States and Chile.
“At King’s, we aim to empower young leaders who will drive change within their societies,” said King’s Academy Headmaster John Austin. “Jordan’s youth are rich in diversity and in ambition; they only lack opportunities to help them succeed in life. This partnership promises to open a lot of doors for them.”
Participants were encouraged to form intellectually diverse teams to ideate, then build commercially scalable products. Mentors, ranging from leading academics in the field of entrepreneurship, to regional and global business leaders, also took part. Throughout the week, the teams worked on developing ideas, producing prototypes and developing two-minute “pitch” videos.
The top 10 teams presented their pitches to a panel of experts and venture capitalists, who questioned them to assess the viability of their businesses before selecting three winners.
Startup with Purpose also proved to be a week of discovery, as students began to realize that their career plans were changing in light of what they learned.
“That is our goal, not to spit out entrepreneurs, but to have entrepreneurship be a vehicle to learning about yourself and the things that you enjoy so you can make sure the career path you choose has more joy in it,” said Professor Ken Singer, managing director of the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley.