This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the fifteen student startups who are participating in our Terp Startup summer accelerator at the College Park WeWork. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.
Founder & CEO: Felipe De Padua, MS ’19, Software Engineering
DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?
De Padua: Current schools teach little to none of the skills that are key to the future generation, such as financial literacy, entrepreneurship and coding. The latter is by far the one that is having the biggest growth and demand.
Code&Play provides online coding classes taught live by real engineers. While providing the sought-after personalized and “face-to-face” learning experience from real instructors, all the classes take place remotely, providing convenience and worldwide accessibility to our service. This allows us to scale and reach students in many parts of the country and the world.
DC: How did you first come up with your idea?
De Padua: I came up with this idea after being a volunteer Computer Science teacher for a high school in Rhode Island. Living in Maryland, I taught the students using video-conferencing. After this great experience and realizing the high demand yet lack of human resources to teach coding at schools, I decided to found Code&Play.
DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?
De Padua: We have reached schools in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore area, and a pilot program at a school in Brazil. We also have students from many different countries taking 1-1 coding classes. We got into the Startup Shell Incubator and Towson’s University EdTech Incubator.
DC: What drives you to keep going?
De Padua: It is hard to find work that excites you every day. I was able to accomplish this with Code&Play: It is rewarding to develop and teach coding courses that I love while being able to change a child’s future and give them the opportunity to explore this new field that very few currently have been exposed to. It has been amazing to see how many kids are actually interested in learning how to code. After learning some “Coding Superpowers”, they feel empowered to use coding to solve some of their daily problems, develop entrepreneurial ideas, and even to follow a STEM career (which was disregarded by many before that experience).
DC: How do you feel about working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs?
De Padua: It’s incredibly motivating for me. Being able to share experiences with other people who are going through the same process, successes and pains means that we can learn from one another and find new ways to achieve my goals.
DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup this summer?
De Padua: I hope to learn and collaborate with other entrepreneurs so that, at the end, I will leave feeling even more prepared, motivated and with the right skills to make sure the business will keep succeeding as it grows.