New program aims to inspire next generation of tech entrepreneurs |

New program aims to inspire next generation of tech entrepreneurs

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Drew Stachnik is hoping to inspire a few good ideas with a new high school startup program, called NXT, aimed at the next generation of technologically savvy entrepreneurs in Routt County.

“The program itself is labeled as a pre-accelerator,” Stachnik said. “The hope is to basically get the kids that are applying going through the program and for them to eventually apply to a traditional accelerator. The major difference is that we are focusing on a demographic that I feel has been overlooked. There are not too many opportunities, especially in Colorado, for such a program.”

NXT will provide the structure and resources for students to create their own technology startup. The inspiration for the program began with Stachnik’s own experience with technology-based startups during the past 10 years.

“The opportunity is for the next generation to benefit and begin to understand that it is their time to make a difference,” Stachnik siad.

The program’s goal is to empower the young entrepreneurs through the knowledge and experience they will gain by creating their own projects.  Stachnik said the program will start with the student’s own passions, and then it will apply those passions to the latest technologies, with the hopes of creating products that can make the communities the students live in better.

Stachnik said the NXT program will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity for high school students in Routt County. The program will focus specifically on tech-related products and resources. 

In contrast with more traditional businesses models that require large amounts of startup capital, technology startups, Stachnik said, can do the same thing for a fraction of the cost. The NXT program will focus on those factors and offer the high school audience the latest knowledge of an ever-changing business technology world.

Stachnik said the program has a lot of similarities to the Routt County CEO program, which is already offered to high school students. But he feels that the NXT program will fill a different need for area students.

“One specific difference is that this pre-accelerator really focuses toward tech, which encompasses mobile applications and computers and that kind of stuff,” Stachnik said. 

The NXT program has already lined up six mentors and is hoping to add a few more. Those mentors will help guide the students in the program during hour-and-a-half-long class sessions three times a week. The times and locations of those class sessions have not been determined.

Students can begin  applying  for the program is Dec. 1. The eight-week program is slated t0 start in February.

The opportunity does come with a cost as applicants will be asked to cover the class’s $1,000 tuition. Stachnik, however, is currently looking for more sponsors who could help reduce the cost of that program. He is hoping that with more support the cost will come in around $800 per student.

Interested students can apply for the program at The ideal students would have a 3.0 GPA or above, be highly motivated and creative and be engaged in the high school community.

Those interested in getting involved with NXT can also email Stachnik at

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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