You can fund the next generation of entrepreneurs AND get really cool stuff!
Like this -
How do you change the trajectory of a young person's life?
At The Possible Project (TPP), we are 100% committed to a future where every student graduates from high school with the entrepreneurial skills needed to thrive in the 21st century economy. Our three-year intensive afterschool program teaches 10th-12th graders, most of whom are low-income, how to start and run their own businesses. We’ve worked with 250 students in our first three years, and we’re growing fast: TPP will serve 200 students annually by 2015, and in 2016 we’ll open the first of many planned new sites around the country. To learn more, please visit www.possibleproject.org.
The Possible Project's programming has several core components including a focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) capabilities. We encourage our students to MAKE the products that they sell and/or incorporate digital fabrication into their businesses. Additionally, TPP has an in-house business, Made Possible, through which students design and produce items of all types. In just a few months, TPP students will be doing all of this fabrication in our TPP Makerspace.
What is a makerspace and why do we want our own? Well, a makerspace is a hands-on learning environment that allows users to create with new and exciting technologies and equipment. The focus is on light manufacturing procedures mixed with 21st century technologies. About a year ago, we noticed that many of our student businesses ordered their product components from faraway places. Around the same time, we heard that makerspaces are spurring a renaissance in domestic manufacturing. Putting two and two together, we saw a golden opportunity to show students how to design and manufacture their own products.
Our 1,800 square foot TPP Makerspace will open this December in Kendall Square. This was made possible with a lot of help from our friends, and in particular the Cambridge Housing Authority and Biogen Idec Foundation.
The TPP Makerspace will have industry-grade digital tools and software, from 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, Solidworks and Adobe Illustrator, and of course the centerpiece of it all: a professional-grade laser cutter! The point is to allow our students the opportunity to design, prototype, manufacture, and sell their goods at scale.
We’ll use our Kickstarter funds to purchase a $40,000 Trotec Speedy 400 laser cutter.
We love laser cutters because their functions - to cut, engrave, and mark - allow you to create just about anything. They’re surprisingly interdisciplinary: a graphic designer uses a laser cutter to create signage and corporate collaterals like logo-engraved glassware; an architect produces scale mockups; a jeweler makes finely-cut earrings; a toy designer produces parts for her latest action figure.
“Ok,” you say. “Laser cutters are great, but why such a fancy, production-grade one?” Many education-grade laser cutters are somewhat small, not very powerful, and are mainly used for demonstration. But TPP is not a simulation of business; it’s the real thing. The Trotec Speedy 400 is big, fast, powerful, and low maintenance. It is just the tool we need to create real products for real businesses.
UPDATE: We hit our goal and are still moving!
UPDATE 2: Amazing! Passed our first stretch goal! Can we do $55,000???
We are stretching to get ready for the final push. If we can get to $48,000 (make that $55,000!) by Saturday November 1st, TPP will use all funds over our initial $40,000 goal to build infrastructure in the Makerspace for product manufacturing supplies AND start to fill it.
This will allow the Makerspace to get up and running sooner. Our students need materials to bring their creative visions to life (and to market!) so let’s get backing!
Every reward you see will be made on the Trotec Speedy 400 laser cutter we purchase with our Kickstarter funds! Our students will be intimately involved in producing, packaging, and shipping your rewards. Thanks in advance for helping us to expand opportunities for our students!
To select icons for your rewards from The Noun Project go to http://thenounproject.com/
The Possible Project
The Possible Project (TPP) is a youth entrepreneurship program designed to close the opportunity gap and provide 21st century career skills to high school students through resources and support that make them more likely to graduate from high school, complete education and training beyond high school, and enter careers that will provide them with a living wage.
Raber Umphenour, Filmmaker
Raber Umphenour is a filmmaker, making independent feature films and documentaries. He has been invited to speak and screen his work at Wellesley College, Boston University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, amongst others. His work has been featured on MTV and FUSE, and he was featured as a performer on the Disney Channel. He is also a founding director of the non-profit Midway Artist Collective which provides affordable housing for artists in Boston at Midway Artist Studios, and the founder of MOSDO, the Museum of Scenographic Design, dedicated to preserving stage, film and opera design.
Follow the development of his upcoming feature film at raber.co.
Risks and challenges
Delay in our Makerspace opening: Construction on our Makerspace starts Oct. 1, same as launch day! It’s slated to finish by Dec. 2, but you know, crud happens.
Delay in laser cutter delivery: We’ve already notified Trotec about the specific model and specifications we want, and are ready to pull the trigger on ordering the machine the moment our project ends. We’ve been told to expect delivery within 2-4 weeks, which means we should have the laser cutter should arrive just as the Makerspace construction finishes. But we won’t have that commitment on delivery until we make that order on Nov. 2. A surge of October orders is possible (laser-cut jack-o’-lanterns?), which could slow down delivery time and back up our order fulfillment.
Order volume exceeds student capacity: We’re first and foremost youth program, and though we have pros on staff to oversee the quality of produced goods, there will naturally be a learning curve as this will be the first time our students will be doing this type of work at scale. This translates into potentially extended timelines for distribution. We’ve done our best to build that learning time into our delivery schedule, but hey, we could be wrong!
How we’ll handle them:
Delay in our Makerspace opening: Aside from the Valentine’s Day Package, all of our product rewards are slated for fulfillment in March, so we’ve built in some wiggle room. Even a month-long delay of our opening shouldn’t throw off our fulfillment schedule. However, in a worst-case scenario, we’ll search for a temporary location for our laser cutter so we can get started on production.
Delay in laser cutter delivery: If it looks like our laser cutter supplier just won’t be able to deliver, then we’ll locate an equivalent machine elsewhere. In fact, we’ve identified two other laser cutters that would be more than sufficient to meet our purposes.
Order volume exceeds student capacity: If it appears that we are falling behind because there either aren’t enough students or that the teaching/learning process is taking longer than expected, we will first be sure to keep all backers up-to-date of these snafus, and secondly will recruit more students and/or spend more time on training to improve students’ design and production skills.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)