Traveling back in time: 2018 — the year of “firsts”.
Around this time last year, we had our first board meeting. From February to July 2018, we hosted monthly YLAsks invigorating the relationships between the YoungLeaders members and welcoming reputable guests. Two out of the three YLBuild teams got formed out of the YLAsk events — where the teammates got inspired, discussed ideas, and wanted to work together.
On a mission to overcome the post hackathons and science fairs death valley, the first YLBuild cohort took place from August 26 to November 22. For 12 weeks, 3 teams worked on advancing their projects to products intended for being used to improve lives and disrupt industries. The cohort served as a proof that daring genius teenagers can build products that improve lives and disrupt industries. However, the expectations of putting their products in the hands of real consumers appeared to be ambitious. We have learned tremendously from this first cohort and gained further trust from all of our friends and partners.
On the organizational level, in 2018 we checked off multiple first-time experiences. We put together a solid board of directors and brought together the daring genius teenagers of Montreal, incorporated as a federal and provincial nonprofit, revamped the branding of the organization, got our first media coverage, and got our first 5 figures cheque.
We are grateful to all the guests, mentors, and advisors who have helped us this year: Roula Zaarour, Hugo Larochelle, Mikulas Arendas, Yoshua Bengio, Chima Ubani, Sylvia Earle, Stephan Ouaknine, Elizabeth Yin, Jacinthe Ricard, Borahm Cho, Richard Btaiche, Mathieu Perreault, Isaac Souweine, Clarissa Desjardins, and Lloyd Segal.
To conclude, we constantly iterated on everything we have done in 2018. We explored a diverse range of initiatives, guests, and members. We planted multiple seeds with potential partners and individuals. Thus, we may summarize the year of 2018 as the year of exploration, iteration, and planting seeds. Keep reading to learn how we are fusing the learnings of 2018 for an explosive 2019.
But first, let’s briefly reiterate on the vision
We envision a world where kids are liberated from the thirteen-year prison sentence — otherwise known as K-12. We envision a world where kids unleash their inner crazy genius and dare to create. We envision a world where there are 100 times more Steve Jobs, Marie Curie, Socrates, J.K. Rowling, and Leonardo Da Vinci.
YoungLeaders — at its heart — is a community, in addition to being a school. We believe a key to creation is having a community of daring geniuses who push, challenge, and motivate one another to create. The community sets a bar of high standards.
If the current education system is not revolutionized, crazy genius teenagers will settle for unfulfilling jobs, do nothing with their ideas, and — worst — the world’s toughest problems will remain unsolved.
Fast Forward into 2019
After a tantalizing year, we are dreaming bigger — much bigger. While 2019 will also be a year where we will experiment a lot of firsts, we are putting into practice all the learnings and relationships culminated from 2018 for a bigger initiative: an 8-week full-time boarding program.
Furthermore, we are leveraging technology to better achieve our mission. We want to build a personal learning assistant that complements the physical interactions and guidance that daring genius teenagers receive. Moreover, we aim to make all the resources that YoungLeaders provides to its members, a few clicks away.
Moving forward, we are putting together a world-class team of A players to build revolutionary product and curriculum. Wait for some exquisite announcements.
Goals for 2019
We are still in the early stages of learning how to deliver unique value to daring genius teenagers through mentorship, guidance, and now, technology. Our goal remains to continue to find ways to better educate and guide teenagers. This requires sustained investment in learning and experimenting while we grow. This also entails extending our brand trust to the broader ecosystem.
We now know vastly more about entrepreneurship and education than when YoungLeaders was founded, but we still have so much to learn. Though we are optimistic, we must remain vigilant and maintain a sense of urgency to find the product-market fit and the right path to growth. We feel good about what we have done, and even more excited about what we want to do.
2018 was indeed an incredible year. We at YoungLeaders are grateful for our members for their trust and time, to each other for our sacrifices and hard work, and to our partners and friends for their support and encouragement.