Tech camp business grows to five states in less than two years

This piece is presented by the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.

What began as a single summer camp focusing on technology has grown to 25 locations in less than two years.

Adam Learing and Shane Thomas started Learn.Create.Build Academy in August of 2015 to teach technology directly to kids.

They had worked as curriculum developers for middle and high schools before deciding they wanted to work “hands-on with kids teaching them skills that would be useful in the future from middle to high school and on to college because you can’t do anything without technology today,” Thomas said.

The academy puts on camps for kids age 7 to 14, teaching computer programming skills, such as Java, through methods like building Minecraft video games. The idea is to show kids it’s possible to learn while still having fun.

“We’re focused right now on getting kids in the door and getting their hands on technology with the hope that they’re excited,” Thomas said.

Their office is at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship. Zeal vice president Ryan Oines, who has worked with them since they started, calls them high-caliber entrepreneurs with strong potential to grow.

“In the early stages, we offered them an economically friendly location for their business,” he said. “Our mission at Zeal is to provide an environment that promotes community building, assisting with introductions to experts and resources, and providing opportunities for collision.”

Thomas said Zeal has helped the co-founders make connections with other businesses, establish the academy in the Sioux Falls community and provide guidance on daily tasks, such as finances.

“There’s always going to be ups and downs in running a business, and so we’ve had their encouragement and tools to help us become more successful,” Thomas said.

The business has grown from two-day camps last year to weeklong camps this year in 25 locations in five states. The summer staff includes 15 part-time teachers who also work to expand on students’ science, technology, engineering and math skills. Since beginning, Learn.Create.Build has worked with more than 3,000 kids.

“I love the business model because it’s replicable, it serves a niche within a growing population, and it preps future employees for the workforce,” Oines said. “They have growth potential because they are addressing multiple industries and because they aren’t geographically landlocked.”

To learn more about the resources available to businesses at Zeal, visit realzeal.com.

 

 

 

 

Tech camp business grows to five states in less than two years

What began as a single summer camp focusing on technology has grown to 25 locations in less than two years.

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