YLBuild: The Next Step in the YoungLeaders Journey 🚀

Dear YoungLeaders Community,

Through YLAsk, you’ve questioned some of the world’s most important challenges. You’ve met the craziest, most ambitious, and most passionate teenagers in Montreal. You’ve also learned about the paths and the views of incredible entrepreneurs.

YLAsk with Prof. Yoshua Bengio at Google’s Montreal offices

Today, we’re announcing the next step in the YL journey: YLBuild.

You’ve all worked on a cool project. Many of you have had great success in science fairs, hackathons, math olympiads, and other competitions.

But then what? What happens after the science fairs, the hackathons, and the math olympiads? Most of the time, you only get bragging rights. But, your project remains exactly that — a project.

In a world where knowledge and ideas are so accessible, young people like us are empowered more than ever. Today, we can create almost anything we want, but it is still an uphill endeavour to turn our projects into a product serving real people.

How do we flatten the product development learning curve?

Throughout YLBuild, you will build your own products with guidance from the people who have a proven track record of shipping great products to millions — or even billions — of people.

We will start our first 3-month¹ cohort of YLBuild with two partner companies: Shopify and Google.

YL HackSprint

The first step of YLBuild will be the YL HackSprint, which will take place on August 26. There, you’ll take the first steps in developing your product with the guidance of mentors from our partner companies. You’ll define a problem to solve, build a team, and sketch a potential solution.

After the YL HackSprint

Your team will then be paired up with 2 mentors from our partner companies. You’ll be working on your product for the next 3 months. The mentors will guide you in setting weekly objectives, and help you reach them.

Every 3 weeks, all teams will also meet with accomplished entrepreneurs for open office hours. The goal of the office hours is not only to get feedback on your product, but also on the potential building of your company.

At the end of the 3 months, YLBuild teams will present their products to an audience of investors and continuation partners who could help you take your product to the next level.

After 3 months

By the end of the 3 months, you’ll have a product that you’ve started to ship and the beginnings of a company. Maybe your company turns into something special. But at the very least, we think you’ll learn a ton from taking your product to the finish line, having real users, and learning from great companies.

We’re super excited about YLBuild — the next step in the YL journey. But to prepare for the YL HackSprint, you will need to start thinking of an idea — or at least a problem that you want to solve — and have an idea of a team. Here’s a great essay by Paul Graham that you can start with.

So mark your calendars — August 26. Let’s kick some ass 🔥

Yours sincerely,

The YoungLeaders Team 🚀

[1] When this article was initially published, YLBuild was a 6-month program. We have since changed the duration of the program to 3 months.