In many ways, the scene was a familiar one at Hopeworks -- youth and community members, huddled over screens, learning to code and to use technology to change their lives. However, it was different than a normal day at Hopeworks for two key reasons.
First, it wasn’t just Hopeworks youth learning. As we do every year, Hopeworks opened it doors to aspiring coders from 6 to 60 to come and learn to code by participating in workshops led by Hopeworks alumni and volunteers from companies in the area, including EPAM, Subaru, Linode, Rutgers, OceanRingTech, and many others.
Second, coding wasn’t all that was in store for the day. In the afternoon, Hopeworks held its first ever pitch competition, awarding over $3,500 in prizes to Hopeworks alumni who have started their own businesses. The prize money came from the Thomas family, the family of a Hopeworks alumna, in memory of Aaron Thomas. When Aaron Thomas passed away, the family dedicated all donations in his memory to Hopeworks to support youth entrepreneurship. This pitch competition was the first step!
The alumni businesses pitched included marketing and design companies, web design services, and many others! You can see a video of the entire event here!
Check out pictures from the entire day here