Jennifer Turliuk has always had a passion for technology. At just 12 years old, she coded her very first website for a school book report on Harry Potter. The website went viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of page views, and was even featured in a major children’s magazine. Experiencing that level of success at an early age was empowering, says Turliuk. “That was the moment when I realized I could do anything.”
Turliuk took that passion and continued to create. She attended business school at Queen’s University and NASA’s prestigious Singularity University – ‘tech’s most coveted community’- where she learned about exponential technologies of robotics and 3D printing, and how to apply those technologies to education. After this experience, Turliuk decided to start MakerKids to empower other young people to reach their potential through technology.
Turliuk says MakerKids’ goal is simple: to move kids from consumers to creators. While technical skills are the primary focus, students come away with much more. “Our curriculum is all based on helping kids become the leaders of tomorrow,” says Turliuk. “Not only are we teaching them technology skills, we’re also teaching them skills like leadership, resilience, creativity, and more.”
Based in Toronto, MakerKids offers programs, summer camps, and birthday parties for children aged 8 to 12 on topics like coding, Minecraft, and robotics. With its innovative curriculum, MakerKids has caught the attention of media like Wired, Popular Science, and CTV News, and received accolades for its programs in Toronto Life and Today’s Parent.
Thousands of students have graduated from MakerKids, and many have gone on to start their own businesses or to present their projects on national television. Some have even reached out to Turliuk about opening their own MakerKids locations, which prompted Turliuk to consider franchising. “Once more than 50 people had reached out to us, we thought, ‘maybe this is something we want to consider,’” she says.
Jennifer’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Huffington Post, Fast Company, CBS national TV, and more.
Her career highlights include doing marketing and PR for the Matterform 3D Scanner crowdfunding campaign (which raised over $471K – the most-funded Indiegogo campaign outside the US), launching an SMS-based disaster relief project during Hurricane Sandy, leading the Canadian launch of Tide Pods – P&G’s biggest launch in 27 years, and running Canada’s largest business plan competition, the Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition.
She’s penned one of Forbes’ Greatest Hits articles and has spoken at MakerCon New York, Maker Faire Rome, and keynoted MakerCon Norway.
In her spare time, she does independent marketing and strategy consulting and enjoys salsa dancing, kiteboarding, improv, 3D printing, and building electronic creations.