via Florida Weekly, By Aisling Swift
Logiscool, a gamified computer coding school for kids and teens, has graduated from the Naples Accelerator, opened five locations and is working on a summer camp program.
A newly renovated school in East Naples opened at 1715 Heritage Trail, Suite 203, on Jan. 1. Classes also are being held at Seacrest Country Day School, the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County and at the community center at Collier County’s Vineyards Community Park. On the East Coast, a school opened at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.
They’re the first U.S. schools for Hungarian-based Logiscool, which just enrolled students, ages 6-18, for its second semester after its start at the Naples Accelerator, where it still operates a business office.
“The Naples Accelerator did its job and we outgrew the space and found new locations,” said Logiscool regional manager Bridget Guerrero. “Naples is all about partnerships and we partnered with the Boys & Girls Club, Seacrest Country Day School, Collier County Parks & Recreation and now we’re partnering with the City of Naples’ Parks & Recreation Program.”
A summer camp program at Fleischmann Park is pending.
“Parents want their kids to excel,” Ms. Guerrero said. “It’s kind of hard for parents to find an after-school program that kids enjoy — and parents and kids love Logiscool.”
Logiscool, which opened in 2014 in Budapest, has grown to more than 60 schools in 12 countries that have trained more than 20,000 students. Its mission is to teach digital literacy and computer coding through creative, fun exercises by using a learning platform that integrates visual coding with text-based programming at all skill levels, according to Arpi Solti, CEO of HyperTeam USA, a Naples Accelerator business.
Mr. Solti, who is from Hungary, opened the first U.S. Logiscool location last fall at the Naples Accelerator with Felix Lluberes, a Naples serial tech entrepreneur, advisor and business strategist. They’re now looking for franchise partners interested in opening schools in other Florida cities.
A full semester of two 45-minute classes weekly, with a break in between, costs $800, but students received a discount, $720, for Logiscool’s initial semester, and payment plans are offered.
During classes, students solve gradually more complex tasks while creating interactive animations, games and programs in up to five years of courses. They learn logical, algorithmic thinking and important principles of programming easily through a “gamified” learning process.
“We saw the opportunity to bring this wonderful technology to the United States and we couldn’t find a better place than Naples,” said Mr. Lluberes, who founded GPS-tracking startup Position Logic in Naples, then sold it to Kore Wireless. “This is just the beginning of a technology transformation taking place in Southwest Florida and we’re going to start with our kids and their education.”
“A lot of the spirit of this came from us being technology entrepreneurs and parents,” he added.
Last semester, 15 Seacrest students took the 1½-hour weekly classes, in addition to 40 students at the Naples Accelerator, according to Guerrero. This semester, 12 members of the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County will be taking free classes, while non-members can take classes if they pay tuition.
Logiscool now employs six, Ms. Guerrero said, including five college students who are paid $15 hourly under college computer-coding internships.
“This is another rock star company that came to Collier County through the Naples Accelerator,” said Jace Kentner, director of the Collier County Office of Business & Economic Development. “The demand for students with a background in STEM will only grow more and this allows students at a very young age to learn coding skills that are in great demand — and will continue to be in great demand.”
According to Michael Dalby, president of Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, there will be 25 percent year-over-year growth in IT jobs in Collier County through 2027, with an average wage of $35 an hour.
Logiscool is now raising funds to award more needs-based scholarships. It’s already awarded $7,600 in full- and half-scholarships to 15 children of veterans, single parents, distressed and minority families last semester, in addition to $21,600 in scholarships to Boys & Girls Club members for the current semester, Ms. Guerrero said.
Logiscool will be giving away more needs-based scholarships, as well as awarding a scholarship after a Facebook competition, Ms. Guerrero said, adding, “We want to get up to 500 people to follow our Facebook page and will randomly select a follower for a scholarship.” ¦