Youth Digital is a Durham-based technology education company that has turned the pastime of gaming into an educational experience. Through online classes and after-school programs, students — ages 8 to 14 — learn to create their own video games, apps and other programs.
Due to an increasing demand for more classes, the company has moved from its original location in Durham to Chapel Hill. The new space includes six classrooms, a film studio and 3-D printers.
“Everyone is able to consume technology, but we want to teach kids who can build their own apps,” said Ryan Perlowin, assistant director of summer programs for Youth Digital.
“The move kind of allows us to reach more students here.”
Youth Digital is just one of the many startups that have found their way into the Chapel Hill area.
“Chapel Hill is attractive to startups for two main reasons: a thriving, diverse and educated population plus access to young, energetic talent,” said Patrick Vernon, executive director for UNC’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, in an email.
Jim Kitchen is the founder of 1789 Venture Lab, an incubator that supports students and other entrepreneurs in Orange County with resources such as money, meeting space and mentorship. He said the entrepreneurial spirit of the Triangle is revolutionizing the way UNC classes are being taught.
“It is amazing even in the last five years how across campus the curricular offerings have changed,” Kitchen said. “It’s all very entrepreneurially driven, and it’s fascinating to watch, so much so that the music department has its own incubators.”