Youth CITIES: Inspiring Young Entrepreneurs like Mary McMahon

 |   Mary McMahon, Youth CITIES March-to-May Bootcamp Winner

For many years I have been honored to serve as a challenge judge at the Youth CITIES semi finals or finals presentation for the March to May Boot Camp. Each year, the students truly blow me away with what they’ve created. The Youth CITIES Boot Camp teaches students about entrepreneurship and From March to May, the students create a minimum viable product, write a business plan, learn to pitch their idea to potential customers and investors, and some of them even build a prototype. This blog post highlights this year’s winner, Mary McMahon — and there were many more ideas and products the middle school and high school students developed during the program. Each student leaves the program excited about their business idea with plans to grow. I am most excited to see what they all do next!

— Aimee Sprung, Civic Engagement Manager

At the beginning of last summer (2017), I was diagnosed with scoliosis and required to wear a spine-correcting back brace. From my experience, I realized that I wanted to create an app to help my treatment. My friend Jen, a Youth CITIES alumni, recommended the Youth CITIES March-to-May Bootcamp to me when I told her about my scoliosis idea. I was excited that there was a program that would help me develop and grow my new venture. Even though I applied to the 2018 program a little late, I still managed to grab a spot!

To be honest, as I was new to the Youth CITIES program I did not know exactly what goals I should set for myself. However, I did want to learn more about entrepreneurship, make some new friends, and improve my venture; all of which I feel I accomplished!

The most important thing I learned from the March-to-May Bootcamp was how to utilize my resources. Before Youth CITIES, I believed the number of opportunities a person had was dependent on how many resources and money they possessed. While some of this still holds true, I learned that you can create your own opportunities and accomplish a lot, even with a small amount of well-deployed resources. I also learned how to create an entrepreneurial pitch and how to network my idea, which are important skills required to grow my venture and any project moving forward in life.

I feel that having an entrepreneurial mindset most noticeably improved by personal growth. After the networking event, the semi-final pitch, and final pitch, I have grown more confident in speaking in front of my class and to my teachers.

Youth CITIES teaches the importance of well-used resources, prioritization, and managing time-constraints to make sure that one’s venture is executed well and efficiently. Youth CITIES prepares students to tackle existing and future world problems by giving them the skills to accomplish any of their new ventures, which creates an “I can fix this” mentality among students.

I can not thank Vicky Wu Davis enough for her time, commitment, and dedication to help students like me. I got more out of Youth CITIES than I ever imagined.

Watch Mary’s presentation:

YouTube Video