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12-year-old starts pilot program for invention in BVSD classroom

BOULDER, Colo. — A student in Boulder Valley School District can call himself an entrepreneur at just 12 years old.

It all started from a conversation with his mother.

When Yannick Sturm-Asare moved to Boulder from San Francisco, he was surprised to learn his new classmates don’t switch into clean shoes when they arrive to school or get back from recess like in California.

“The floors would sometimes get dirty. And then sometimes we would just sit in like circles around the floor, my pants would get dirty,” Sturm-Asare said.

At the time, the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing, adding to concerns about germs and overall cleanliness.

So his mom — Amabel Akwa-Asare — encouraged him to find a solution to the problem.

That’s how ShoeShoes was born.

“ShoesShoes is like shoes for your shoes,” Sturm-Asare said.

They strike a resemblance to shoe covers seen in hospitals, but Sturm-Asare wanted his to be stylish and re-usable.

“We have manufacturers. And really, they just have the sole, and then of course, like the fuzzy part or the design on them, and then they sell it together,” he said.

Mature beyond his years — Sturm-Asare sought out some constructive criticism to make his product better.

So he turned to Mesa Elementary, where he was a student when he came up with the idea. He’s now asking first graders to take part in a pilot program, giving him feedback on his invention.

“They like them. They have a routine. They help each other remind each other to put them on to take them off,” April Busch, a first grade teacher at Mesa elementary, said.

For every bit of feedback Sturm-Asare gets, he works with his mom to brainstorm solutions.

“To see him be willing to work through problems is something that is really, it’s really important to me. See him out there speak in public, I mean, that’s, that’s probably not a prouder moment in a mom’s life,” Akwa-Asare said.

Sturm-Asare said he doesn’t know yet what he wants to be when he grows up, but he’s enjoying learning about all things business right now. For the time being, he said he just wants to see his business take off.

He started collaborating with a local soccer team “Kick to Build,” and ShoeShoes are also being carried in the Wild Children’s Museum in Lafayette.

12-year-old starts pilot program for invention in BVSD classroom

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