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Google Campus Startup Programmes: for Women (Campus for Mums 2016) and for 50+ (Founders over 50)

Example of a multidisciplinary, focused programme for women and the 50+ achieve their dreams and learn in a supportive manner

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The average American — or Australian, or Canadian, or New Zealander — will go through many careers in a lifetime (source: Wall Street Journal). 

Our responsibilities and priorities change throughout life and many opportunities are available to us now that were not available before. 

Currently, there is another OpenIDEO challenge underway focusing on "How might we create financial services that support the dreams and obligations of those 50 and older?" During the research phase, there were several posts on how many people aged 50+ wanted to go to college (they may not have got the opportunity to before) or start a business. 

I was also inspired by Gabriela Hernandez Houston here which mentioned that many mothers go to her University. 

This made me think of the work that Google Campus is doing to help people achieve their dreams.

Campus for Mums 2016 is a baby-friendly startup school aimed at experienced and aspiring entrepreneurs. Every Tuesday over ten weeks, attendees learn from "successful entrepreneurs and founders on a variety of themes, from marketing and branding your startup to the practicalities of seeking funding". The programme ends with a startup showcase where attendees get feedback on their idea from an experienced investor. 

'Google’s VP of ‘People Operations’, Yvonne Agyei, even stopped by and spoke about “unconscious bias” in the workplace and how to overcome this'.

Attendees can bring their children to the sessions. 

Source: Campus London and The Memo

Founders over 50 was a similar programme for business founders over the age of 50 that took place every Wednesday over six weeks.  

"Ninety businesses applied and nine were selected, ranging from a data company and an events aggregator, to a company that helps people find a therapist."

“I look at the people I meet on Campus who are doing really well and they are often not 21 years old, I kept meeting [business] founders in their 50s, 60s, 70s who have a fantastic history behind them.

“They’ve got a lot of confidence but are able to assess risk very practically, are able to bootstrap far further than 25-year-olds, and often have the contacts that someone who has never worked in a traditional career has.”

“One thing nearly all the group need help with is sales. For example, a couple of the founders who are amazing at PR, for example, say they struggle at sales and would like to improve.

“‘Sales’ has such a bad PR problem as a word, but [we teach it] in a way that still allows you to be authentic. We want to give them tools so when they are selling their company [and what it does] they feel completely comfortable.”

- Sarah Drinkwater, Head of [Google] Campus London

Taken from:

Source: Campus London 

These courses end with something relevant to the real world of the entrepreneur - a pitch to investors - instead of an examination.

Specifically, please check all that apply:

  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

I am the Community Guide for this challenge. I have studied at Birmingham, Nottingham and Leeds University in the UK and graduated with qualifications in Biochemistry, Toxicology, and Environmental Management. I have held a number of jobs including being a TEFL teacher and energy analyst. I love to learn new skills and loathe stagnation.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

How can Universities support mature students, mums and other groups that are non-traditional students achieve their dreams in a way that works around their lifestyle and makes them ready for the ever changing workplace? Can a similar model to Google Campus be adapted to other goals and dreams e.g. becoming a teacher, lawyer and so on?


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