Youth Startup Lab is an after-school experiential food entrepreneurship learning program delivered in youth centers. Led by adult coaches, teams of 12-15 year old students amplify their entrepreneurial mindset by creating a food business venture with their peers over 10 weeks.
In spring 2016, the first cohort designed and launched Terrific Tacos, a taco stand addressing the after-school snack market. The 10 week experience culminated in a pop-up where 232 tacos were served in 3 hours. The four months following the pop-up Terrific Tacos has since received four requests for catering jobs. Our second cohort started in fall 2016 at East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC).
Youth Startup Lab is a charitable after-school program incubated in collaboration with Civil Labs, EODYC, and a team of students from UC Berkeley Eat Think Design class [featured in Edible East Bay Fall Harvest 2016]. Youth Startup Lab is currently a program of Civil Labs Foundation, an independent not-for-profit organization started by the founders of Civil labs. Our dream is to share the Youth Startup Labs curriculum and coaching model to a network of youth centers in California and the United States.
true pops is an Oakland-based handmade local organic fruit pops business that creates good jobs for highschool students of color. true pops is a Civil Labs brand and is the first youth-focused small business developed by Civil Labs.
We started true pops in July 2016, working out of a commercial kitchen that our friends at Uptown Juice Company provided in-kind so that we incubate and launch true pops. Our community partner, East Oakland Youth Development Center, helped us recruit a team of three high school interns. true pops exists to create good jobs for high school youth. In six weeks, Cesar, Choyannah, and Jabari experienced what it takes to incubate and launch a fruit pops business. From competitive analysis, recipe development, customer feedback, sourcing local & organic, unit costs, branding, sales, and promotion. Most importantly they learned about teamwork, self-expression, community, and developed a sense of ownership and pride of their work and the brand. They also developed the recipe for Watermelon Refresh which is true pops top selling flavor of the 2016 season!!
We currently sell fruit pops at Uptown Juice Company, events, and festivals. In the 2017 season we plan to sell fruit pops at farmers markets and explore selling boxes of fruit pops in specialty markets and grocery stores. Our dream for true pops is to have a fleet of carts across the Bay Area powered by young people of color and place freezers in all the grocery stores and specialty shops and eventually have true pops sold at all the sports stadiums and airports in the Bay Area.