YES: Learn, Connect, and Start Pitching! Startup Camp for Blind and Low Vision Youth

YES: Learn, Connect, and Start Pitching! Startup Camp for Blind and Low Vision Youth

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Mar 1 Mar 3

Youth Employment Series (YES) March 1-3, 2019 Learn, Connect, and Start Pitching!

--NOTE: Location has changed to LightHouse Headquarters due to rain (1155 Market St. San Francisco)

Startup Camp for Blind and Low Vision Youth In March, the LightHouse Youth Employment Series (YES) is excited to host Startup Camp where teams of blind/low vision students will be challenged to grow professionally and in friendly competition surrounded by the fun and exploratory spirit at Enchanted Hills Camp (EHC)! (Note, LightHouse will be offering transportation from the Ed Roberts Campus to EHC).

From Portland to Paris, the startup weekend model has provided an unparalleled level of opportunity for entrepreneurs of all ages. Since the program’s inception, the startup creed has forged connections between like-minded innovators and renowned business leaders, and fostered the formation of robust businesses. As high school students who have organized startup experiences globally, a similar accessible startup event will be held in Napa Valley, CA, in March 2019 to bring the startup energy and opportunity to blind and low vision youth! What makes this startup model remarkable is its relative simplicity. The program organizes participants’ time so as to put the emphasis on student creativity. After students gain exposure to the creative process on Friday night, they design and pitch their original business ideas to their peers. These proposals drive their weekend’s work. Once students join forces with peers interested in their proposed projects, they are assisted in their development of a range of business skills, such as marketing and prototyping, by industry professionals. The student-led teams chart their own path through the process, as they build toward a pitch to professionals on the final day. This is an empowering weekend to not only hone your skills, but to also network and build lasting relationships with blind and low vision peers, local business mentors, as well as have the opportunity to sustain your ideas with enriching prizes.

YES workshops are monthly weekend-long learning experiences emphasizing the vocational enrichment of low vision and blind youth, increasing and providing access to a multifaceted array of mentorship, employment readiness skills, and alternative accessible techniques.

Workshop Learning Objectives:
1. The Startup Camp will encourage students to bring an idea to life from beginning to end, practicing important work-readiness soft skills as they communicate and collaborate with their peers.
2. Youth will have the opportunity to refine their idea development process, to learn marketing and finance strategies, to prototype their innovative ideas, and to confidently pitch their concepts.
3. Transition-age youth will also elevate their attitude and confidence from meeting with successful blind mentors and coaches as they refine their prototype idea, broadening their exposure to different career fields and industries.
4. The over-night nature of the Startup Camp provides opportunities for students to refine their workplace readiness soft skills including effective social and professional communication and independent living all while building community with their blind and low vision peers.

Prerequisites and Things to Bring:
1. Based on program learning outcomes, participants should possess basic computer skills, be able to travel independently, as well as be open to creative energy and the spirit of teamwork
2. Bring a notetaking and research device or implement (braille note, pen, slate and stylus, phone with keyboard, laptop, etc.); you will be asked to complete activities electronically
3. Bring necessities you may need such as any orientation and mobility tools to travel safely, personal toiletries, money for transportation to and from the workshop, or personal medication
4. Recommended items to pack include closed-toe shoes, towels, and warm layers.

If you are interested in participating in the March YES Startup Camp, please:
1. Contact your Department of Rehabilitation counselor to discuss workshop attendance and authorization.
2. Confirm attendance with Ann Wai-Yee Kwong, Transition Program Specialist, by email at or by phone at 415-694-7328. If you have any questions please contact

Please note, space for this program is limited to nine (9) students and workshop attendance must be confirmed one week prior.

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