lightbulb-rdVenture Cafe is proud to bring Youth CITIES’s March to May bootcamp to St. Louis. Started in 2007, Vicky Wu Davis has been creating and refining a curriculum to expose young people to the mindset and principles of entrepreneurship.  To prepare them to be leaders in their field, whether as founder or part of an innovative team, to identify, launch, and execute innovative products, services, and new ventures that contribute to socio-and economic value creation.

With the belief that innovation is a process to improve the human condition, we strive to create opportunities in our communities and are committed to Creating Impact Through Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability (CITIES).

Youth CITIES believes youth are the lifeblood of our community, and that innovation is the lifeblood of any industry (and ultimately our economy).  With this belief, Youth CITIES created an ecosystem to cultivate entrepreneurial mindset in our young people, not just teach them about small-business creation.

Youth CITIES inspires youth to take *their* interests, talents, skills, and experiences…mobilizes youth to invent new products, create new markets, and innovate new ways to serve customer needs…and supports youth in their entrepreneurial journey.

Designed for middle school and high school students, from any school or town, participants work with a variety of entrepreneurs to start a venture, figure out how it impacts our local community, and determine how its going to make money while driving change.

Fast-paced and exciting, a variety of influencers from the entrepreneurial ecosystem share their experiences while teaching creative problem-solving skills, fundamentals of leadership, entrepreneurship, networking, presenting/pitching (in a variety of situations).  In addition to those skills, students see:

  • that an entrepreneurial mindset goes hand-in-hand with tech/artistic/social innovation.
  • how, as unique individuals, youth are relevant and capable.  Different perspectives, learning styles, skillsets, and interests are not to be stifled, but rather leveraged as springboards for innovation.
  • how a venture can incorporate an economic model AND strategic philanthropy, as money is not the only measure of success…yet money is needed to do good works effectively and consistently.

Students compete individually or in teams to start-up and build a social venture to solve real-world problems. Everyone pitches in the Semi-finals, and the top venture ideas present to a panel of finalist judges.  The strongest venture idea/pitch receives $1500 seed grant funding.

This Bootcamp covers a lot of information, and each class builds off of the prior one.  It is important for students to attend all of the classes so as to not fall behind.  If there are special circumstances (such as SAT’s), please let Kaori know in advance.  The following is an outline of the program with key dates that students are required to attend:



March 2nd, 2016 (Wednesday from 6:00pm to 8:00pm) :

This will be an opportunity for students to get a glimpse of what social entrepreneurship meet one another.  Students and parents will also meet and network with some of the Youth CITIES instructors, mentors, and judges.  Course curriculum and workbooks will also be handed out.


March 5th through May 14th, 2016 (every Saturday from 9am to 12pm…NOTE: there is no class session on March 26, 2016):

Learn about different types of ventures, basic principles of entrepreneurship, how to incorporate community-giving while still generating profit, why a venture needs money, and presentation skills, etc.  Classroom lectures, case studies, role-playing, and mock-pitches will be used to teach business fundamentals. Weekly take-home assignments will lead up to a completed Powerpoint presentation and oral pitch of student venture idea.

CIC-St. Louis Tour and Venture Café Networking

April 21st, 2016 (6pm to 8pm):

The Venture Café Gathering, housed at CIC, a world-class shared office space for entrepreneurs, serves as a nexus for helping innovators and entrepreneurs find one another and collaborate to bring their dreams to reality.  Youth CITIES students jump into the mix of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and practice the “elevator pitch” portion of the final oral presentation in an effort to make a memorable impression among the various networkers.  The student that gets the most mentions by the Venture Café community receives a prize.


May 7th, 2016 (9am-12pm):

Semi-final presentations – all ventures will present.  Parents are encouraged to attend.


May 14th, 2016 (9am-12pm):

Top 3 ventures will present their pitch for funding ($1,500) and support to launch a pilot program. Lunch and awards ceremony will follow.  This event is open to all students and their respective family and friends, all program judges/mentors/instructors, and special guests.


Program events/classes will be held at CIC@4240 (4240 Duncan Ave., 2nd Floor, St. Louis, MO 63110).



Three Simple Steps:

  1. Complete the application below for review and consideration. Program staff will follow-up with you.
  2. Once you receive the acceptance notification, submit $295 program fee to secure your spot (Financial aid is available, as are sibling discounts). Applicants will be notified no later than February 19, 2016.
  3. Get ready to Create Impact Through Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Sustainability.