YouthHack is a for purpose organization that was started last July 2014 with the goal of helping students in the Philippines learn more about startups, technology and entrepreneurship. YouthHack Founder and current University of Pennsylvania Sophomore David Ongchoco was inspired to start YouthHack after visiting the US and coming across a variety of startup events, hackatons, business plan competitions and more. He asked himself why there weren’t as many youth entrepreneurship programs in the Philippines.
After telling his friends about the idea of doing a two-day event to get more students interested in the world of startups, the first-ever YouthHack Manila 2014 Startup Challenge was born. More than 100 high school students from all over the Philippines came to hear from experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. They also got the opportunity to pitch their own ideas to a panel of judges.
In fact, the second-place team called ‘ThePhilApp’ (now called ‘Applica’) ended up entering a Harvard Competition after the event and winning the Asia region. A generation of young Filipino entrepreneurs was born.
Inspired by the impact of the first YouthHack event, David would decide to try doing a YouthHack in Philadelphia after speaking with a Wharton Social Impact Professor who told him about the challenges of the high school education system. This would be the start of the international expansion of the YouthHack brand.
After a successful YouthHack Philadelphia event, a Singapore high school student would reach out to YouthHack asking them to bring YouthHack to Singapore. Inspired by the initiative of this high school student, David, after Skyping would her, would find an internship in Singapore so he could setup YouthHack Singapore.
After hundreds of emails, random LinkedIn messages and cold calls, David was able to gather a team of Singapore students and host a one-day entrepreneurship event where over 100 university and high school students in Singapore would gather to hear from speakers and pitch their ideas.
Since then, YouthHack has also held events in Manila once again, pioneering a 36-hour Code Weekend in partnership with Microsoft Philippines and the YouthHack Manila Startup Challenge, the largest youth entrepreneurship event in the Philippines, where over 250 students came to attend workshops, hear from speakers, pitch their ideas and go around a startup fair. YouthHack also had its first ever YouthHack Hong Kong event last August 21.
Aside from these two-day events, YouthHack also has a fellowship program that was started last April with the goal of connect talented students with fast-growing startups they can intern in. For the first batch of fellows, more than 20 students were connected with a variety of startups in the Philippines. YouthHack hopes to give students an opportunity to intern in startups abroad as well in the future.
For David, a 19-year-old university sophomore, the rapid growth of YouthHack in one year has been really exciting. He shared, “It’s reall
y inspiring to see so many young students from all over the world coming together to learn more about this world of startups and how they can harness technology to change the world.”
He added, “Our goal is to really create this global movement and community, and become the number one go-to resource and organization for students to learn more about the world of startups, technology and entrepreneurship.”
You can learn more about YouthHack by visitingwww.youthhack.net. If you’re interested in hosting your own local YouthHack event or starting a local YouthHack Community, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.