Here at Startup Wonder, students develop the skills it takes to solve real-world problems. They are given fun STEM lessons and projects but are also taught to think and act like entrepreneurs. What better way to bring that mindset to life than by inviting a Silicon Valley entrepreneur into our classroom as a speaker and lecturer? To kick off our Interview with an Entrepreneur series, we asked Chef Koochooloo’s Layla Sabourian (and her entrepreneurial daughter, 7-year-old Delarai) to join us for a workshop and Q&A session.
Layla and Delarai started Chef Koochooloo with a few goals in mind: to help kids make healthy choices, explore the world, and solve global issues. This idea grew into an international education app and after school program, both of which bring children and their families into the kitchen and eventually around the table together.
After reviewing the program, we loved the way that Chef Koochooloo’s innovative curriculum creatively solves the problems of childhood obesity and STEM engagement. Children cook delicious, healthy, and age-appropriate recipes from around the world while learning about the culture connected to the dish. They also study issues facing people across the globe and are encouraged to take action. Each lesson integrates relevant, standards-aligned math, science, and engineering activities like proportionality, heat transfer, and oxidation. Chef Koochooloo’s lessons truly take community education to the next level by narrowing the gap between student’s academic pursuits and the real world around them.
Chef Koochooloo’s innovative platform exemplifies the overlap between entrepreneurship and technology, so we asked the founders to be the first in our new Interview with an Entrepreneur series. The team delivered a design-thinking workshop to our campers who were tasked with first identifying
a real-world problem in their school and then developing an app idea that would solve that problem. Then they created a name, designed a logo, and presented their solutions to the class.
This activity was then followed by a live Q&A session where our students had a chance to ask their burning questions about the startup life. Here are a few tidbits that Layla shared.
Q: What did you use to create the app?
A: We used Objective C, which was the original coding language for Apple. They’ve switched to Swift, but ours is built in Java for Android and Objective C for iOS. With our new batch of funding, we’ll be using a new environment called Unity as well as HTML5 for every device.
Q: Can you tell me about your funding?
A: Sure, first we started with self-funding where the founders gave their own money. Second, we did an Indiegogo campaign where we asked people to give money. Then we got a grant from the Chilean government. And then we surveyed 1,000 students, compiled the responses in a scientific paper, and applied to the National Science Foundation. They’re a government-funded organization that funds innovative ideas in science and technology. We told them that we have an app that we think kids like but we need to develop more features, survey more students, and then build it. NSF agreed and awarded us a grant to do that.
Q: Are you planning to expand the app?
A: Yes, right now we support 100 countries and we are going to eventually have 10 recipes for all of the 243 countries.
We’d like to thank Chef Koochooloo’s entire team for joining Startup Wonder for an afternoon of learning, discussion, and fun. Check out their website www.chefkoocooloo.com for more information and look for the Chef Koochooloo app on iOS and Android! Stay tuned for our next Interview with an Entrepreneur.