Thanks for your feedback and for facilitating the meetup last week, Philip!
I agree with you on the regional perspective. This was a point we discussed and have seen implemented very well at the Technovation Competition -- girls from around the world were asked to solve a local issue through coding an application. Focusing on a local perspective definitely allows for a deeper connection to the issues, as they are tangible for those living through them everyday.
Using this local perspective to build the connections you mention makes a lot of sense. Having empathy and experience built into the issues the students are solving makes it a bit easier to get excited and let the creative juices flow! This would presumably work well for the initial pilot phases.
Long term we were hoping to have a large network of these incubators, enabling students to transfer between cultures and teams, giving them an additional global perspective that can't be learned through textbooks or lessons alone.
Thanks Tatiana -- I'm sure it's inspiring to work with aspiring entrepreneurs in NY!
You raise an interesting point about how much groups are willing to commit to sponsoring students. Coming from a corporate background, I see ROI (return on investment) being a concern for some contributors. While the financial return of sponsoring a student in the program is difficult to quantify, there are a number of qualitative returns that sponsors could expect -- educating a group to tackle the world's most difficult problems, building a talent pool for future employment, and being the first to nurture this type of alternative education approach.
I imagine the program would have to accommodate a variety of contribution levels. For example, a lower tier could include housing sponsorship (Airbnb) and food for the student (Spring, Munchery) while higher tiers sponsor the actual project based lessons (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to sponsor sanitation/toilet project, Google to sponsor global internet access project, etc.).
I would love to hear your thoughts on sponsorship!