At PIE, we like to take advantage of our name—after all, it’s the Portland Incubator Experiment. And as such, we like to try new things. It is this spirit of experimentation, that brings a new level of energy to each class, and also pushes us to find ways to make an impact in the community.
Last year, we launched PIElette, a seven-week intensive entrepreneurship program for underserved teens, in partnership with local Portland nonprofit, Self Enhancement Inc. The program brought in 8 teens, a dozen mentors from around the community, and culminated with a demo day – attendees included members of the local media, the Portland Development Commission, local tech startups, and the Technology Association of Oregon. The development for PIElette continues, and we’re excited about future sessions.
As class 4 approached, we were once again, presented with an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up. After hearing about PIElette, TED-fellow and founder of New York based, Project Breaker Juliette LaMontange came to Portland and met with the PIE team. We learned that Concordia University and the Construct Foundation were working on setting up a two week Portland based Breaker Project called The Future of Stuff, and they wanted PIE to be involved.
So, what is The Future of Stuff and why does it matter to Portland and for PIE to be involved? From May 4 – 19, 2014 the facilitated design challenge will have students from across the city researching, designing, and testing the viability and social impact of business opportunities they identify for making and manufacturing industries. It also presents a unique opportunity for executives, school administrators, designers, teachers, and community based organizations to learn with and from the Breaker team as they explore the intersection of challenge-based learning, design-driven innovation, and social entrepreneurship. With local organizations like ADX, Spooltown, and the ever-expanding maker/manufacturing community, you might say that Portland is leading the resurgence of American Made. The Portland Development Commission thinks so, and since 2009 has dedicated resources to promoting advanced manufacturing and the athletic/outdoor industries, adding high wage jobs and growth to the economy.
Want to be involved or know a student (17-24) who should join us? Applications are still open.
We’re looking forward to adding another experiment to the PIE portfolio, and believe the impact of Breaker will reinforce the advancement of the maker movement.