An Entrepreneurship Competition
for High School Students in Portland, Oregon
FounderZ Weekend (Formerly Startup Camp) is open to all Portland-area high school students. Students from across Portland will come together to develop organizations, products, and services that make a positive impact on the world. Students will make their ideas happen during a weekend of mentor-supported social innovation for high school students. It's three days of intense collaboration, innovation, prototyping, connecting, alliance-building, learning from feedback and taking action to build a better future.
Last Year’s Schedule
4 PM to 10 PM
9 AM to 10 PM
9 AM to 8:30 PM
TBA in the near future
People: The Leadership Team and Mentors
About FouderZ Weekend Mentors: The FounderZ Weekend mentors play a crucial role in helping young entrepreneurs move their ideas from concept to completion. Our mentors are professionals and entrepreneurs from a variety of fields, including software, design, engineering, business development, sales, marketing, and investing. They have extensive experience working in the world of startups. Each team of students is encouraged to reach out to a mentor for help via the Slack Channel or by coming to the Mentor Lounge. Every 2-3 hours mentors will engage in rounds with each team to check in on progress, ask questions and offer feedback. This as-needed and rounding model of mentorship is designed to prevent the over-mentorship that is so common during entrepreneurship challenges. Student teams are also encouraged to identify one or two mentors they hope to work with beyond the weekend to help their project come to life. Mentors are committed to supporting students via email and occasional meetings in the weeks and months after FounderZ Weekend.
There will be three prizes handed out on Sunday evening to two teams and two individuals.
People’s Choice Award: An opportunity to pitch at Oregon Angel Fund's annual investor showcase will be awarded to the team that garners the most popular votes during Sunday night's open house.
FounderZ Leadership Award: A full scholarship to one of YEBW's renowned week-long business camps (a $995 value) will be awarded to one male and one female student who most empowered others throughout the weekend, based on nominations by peers and mentors.
Why did Startup Camp become FounderZ Weekend?
Startup Camp has had incredible success over the past four years; but it was time for a refresh based on key learnings and feedback from students and mentors.
FounderZ Weekend keeps many of the elements loved by students - freedom to work on a passion project, excellent mentorship and empowerment to work on big ideas. One major change is that we are asking students to build projects and businesses with a positive social impact - not necessarily a startup company. In addition, we are prioritizing feedback through intensive “due diligence” meetings with investors and are committed to helping students make their ideas come to life after the weekend concludes. FounderZ Weekend does away with the conventions of many startup events -- students will not have titles (they will all be founders), we care about process more than product and, there will be no formal final pitches. We’re committed to creating a diverse, inclusive and transformative event for students to become leading change-makers in their communities.
Do I need to have a brilliant idea to participate?
No, we welcome all students who want to join a team and build a successful business or organization for social good based on their own or someone else's brilliant idea. Students will work in small groups on Friday night to engage in creative ideation sessions with mentors to help them come up with a viable social impact project.
How do I prepare for FounderZ Weekend?
After registering for the event, students will be invited to attend an hour-long interactive information and strategy session led by FounderZ Weekend Student Leaders. If you can’t make it, don’t fret. There will be educational activities, opportunities for peer learning and one-on-one coaching by mentors to learn topics like Business Model Canvas, graphic design, revenue modeling, customer validation, marketing, prototyping, etc.
How do I make an effective Friday night pitch of my social impact idea?
We will coach students on Friday afternoon to help them generate an effective pitch to other students. Essentially, we ask students to identify a problem, their unique and compelling solution (for social good), and their company name (in about 45 seconds).
Can I work on a project I've already started?
We ask that students pitch and work on brand new projects.
Can I work on a project with my friends?
Yes, you may work with a friend, but teams are expected to be both diverse and inclusive. Team’s will face questions about their team’s diversity during Sunday’s due diligence sessions. Teams will be recognized for inclusive teamwork that brings together students from many different schools and grades.
What is covered by the registration fee?
Friday dinner, and breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday are provided. Abundant snacks will be available all weekend. We ask that students bring a water bottle. In addition, each student will receive a t-shirt on Friday and all post-it notes, supplies, bus tickets, and a small amount of money for prototype development will be granted to each team.
Why won’t there be pitches on Sunday night?
We believe we can create a more powerful learning experience for more students without pitches. In the past, only one or two students from each team had the opportunity to pitch, which was a great experience for them, but not for most of the team. In addition, feedback was often secondary to competition/prizes and brief comments and questions from a panel of judges. We want to prioritize feedback and get every student involved in a final feedback session. We feel like this is best accomplished through intensive due diligence sessions and a public open house on Sunday.
There are plenty of pitch competitions or pitch sessions that are open to students in the Portland area, if a team is interested in pitching in the future. The organizing team and mentors can give students more information.
Will there be prizes?
We believe in providing a winning experience for everyone and we do think FounderZ Weekend is a win for all participants because students will emerge from this intense, exhausting, immersive learning experience with an understanding of how to add value and strategically develop a concept.
That being said, it is important to recognize exceptional work. There will be three awards given this year. Prizes will be announced at FounderZ Weekend.
Given to the team that most impressed the team of investors during Sunday’s due diligence sessions
Given to the team with the most popular votes after Sunday’s open house
FounderZ Leadership Award
Given to the student who most empowered others based on nominations/votes by peers
What happens after the weekend is over?
Students can choose to continue their project, pass their project off to another student or organization, or disband entirely. Student teams will select a mentor(s) to stay in touch with via email and occasional in-person meetings to help get their project off the ground. Mentors and Meredith Goddard, the event director, are committed to helping students in the long-term.
The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank
How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelly
Tribes by Seth Godin
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Change by Design by Tim Brown
101 Design Methods by Vijay Kumar
The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Innovation in Portland & Oregon