The fifth Junior Social Entrepreneurship Summit came to a close this summer after participants presented their ideas to create positive change in the world to an audience at Farmshop in Santa Monica.
And with that, the summer camp’s founder, 15-year-old Luca Pistor, was already thinking about next year.
JSES is a Santa Monica-based, biannual entrepreneurship summer camp with an international component. Through JSES, kids 11-16 can learn about social entrepreneurship and develop their own ideas for positive social change in the world.
To date, JSES has offered five weeklong summer programs over the course of three years, with two held in Santa Monica and three in Berlin.
Berlin is a great location for the camp, according to Pistor, who spends all his school breaks in Germany with his German father and American mother. He even came up with the idea for JSES after spending some time going to school in Berlin in the third grade.
Pistor, a Harvard-Westlake School freshman, said he sees cultural similarities between Berlin and Santa Monica, believing both to have a strong entrepreneurial culture and international appeal.
This year, JSES was held at the Annenberg Community Beach House, where students spent 40 hours together developing their ideas, as well as on the road through field trips to businesses like Tom’s Shoes, CoLoft and InVenture.
“They spoke to us about their missions and how we can eventually be able to effect as much change as them. We also got to see their businesses in action,” Pistor said.
The group also spent a day on campus at the USC Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, the program’s university sponsor. JSES students were assisted by a mentor, Dr. Elissa Grossman, and two USC sophomores from the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy, throughout the program.
“They helped to teach the kids about social entrepreneurship and how to make a business model … We were very grateful to them.”
The final day of the program allowed students to present their ideas to an audience at Farmshop and receive feedback.
JSES Berlin was held at the Technical University this year, a block away from the Centre for Entrepreneurship.
There is a tuition fee for the program, but Pistor said that JSES works to give a very large percentage of merit and financial-based scholarships.
“Because we’re helping the students realize their potential, a lot of the businesses give us donations or price reductions,” he said. “And that’s immensely helpful, because we’re just a starting business and you wouldn’t be able to make it.”
Over the course of three years Pistor’s program has reached 150 students, some from places as far as Mumbai and Warsaw, but he can’t help but want to reach more countries and more people and is actively working toward that goal.
Pistor is also planning a fundraiser to support those undergoing treatment for pediatric cancer, as one of the JSES participants is a pediatric cancer patient.
“I think that would be a good way to bring together the JSES group … anyone who can help raise awareness would be welcome,” he said.
He would also like to explore an idea for a program promoting teen heart health that arose during this year’s summit.
“Since it’s such a big health problem in our nation, we’re working with some doctors at UCLA to bring that knowledge to teens so that they’ll be able to fix the problems going on with their heart, and then be able to live a healthy life later on,” he said.
Pistor plans to keep working on JSES all through his high school career so he can “reach as many kids as would like to be helped.”
Pistor would like to study business and entrepreneurship in college. And though he says it is a little early to be picking a school, he does have an idea of what he wants to do with his career.
“I think I want it to be dealing with teaching social entrepreneurship, teaching kids how to help other people,” he said.
To apply for JSES or find out more about the program, go to www.jsesinternational.com.