Cultivating Bright Ideas and Brighter Futures at Rêve Revival

This August, 26 high schoolers led a team of professionals to do the unexpected: develop business ideas that are meant to improve the community, not just turn a profit. It was all part of Rêve Revival, a one-day accelerator that raised funds to support the students and mission of Rêve Academy.


Each student held an executive role, from CEO to CTO, as they worked alongside adults to prototype and pitch an innovative business concept (see all of the concepts here). But students didn’t just play a role for the day—they’d been developing their business idea for months.

First they came up with (and discarded) countless answers to the question, “How might we design a better community?” Once they found the right idea, the real work began: studying their target market, crafting business plans, practicing elevator speeches, and even designing logos. Although their concepts were focused on community improvement, students were also intent on creating strategies for monetization. After nine weeks of work, each team had come up with an actionable business plan.

But as any business owner will tell you, there’s always more to do. That’s where Revival came in.

At Revival, we invited digital professionals from some of Minnesota’s top companies to help our interns breathe life into their ideas. Together the students and adults learned human-centered design skills and used them to refine their business concept. The day culminated in an inspiring presentation of ideas and a gallery walk where students showed off the work they’d done all summer.

In years past, our summer interns have spent their last weeks prepping for a friends and family showcase of their work. But 2016 felt different. We wanted the local business community to experience what we see every day: young people overcoming barriers and stereotypes to generate powerful ideas.

We were humbled by the outpouring of support: Not only did our students have an amazing day, we raised enough funds to serve 300 future Rêve Academy students! In total, 25 participants from five companies were part of Revival: Target, UnitedHealth Group, SelectAccount, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Thank you for believing in our mission and more importantly, in our students.

Rêve Academy Volunteer Executive Director Brad von Bank said it best: “We’re truly humbled to have so many companies support this event. It was a transformative experience for everyone who participated. Best of all, it helped us raise significant funds to help even more students become world-class digital leaders.”

To learn more about the ideas presented at Revival, please see this executive summary. If you’d like to check out even more pictures, you can find them here.

Rêve Academy

Rêve Academy helps students dream with direction by providing pathways to digital careers. We create marketable talent by combining immersive coursework with real-world experience.