This is an entrepreneurial class that uses college level curriculum to give students a real world learning experience into the life of an entrepreneur through experiential learning, application and discovery. Students are put in teams and start by creating a problem to solve and end by pitching their solution to real investors for funding. Outside of being introduced to the content within the curriculum, students develop much needed work force skills such as:
- Working within a team structure
- Making decisions and solving problems
- Planning, organizing and prioritizing work
- Communicating with people inside and outside their organization
- Obtaining and processing information
The Business INCubator teacher leads the course, along with a team of mentors and coaches who work directly with the students. The mentors and coaches are all community volunteers that provide their time and expertise for the benefit of the students.
Coaches provide authentic business expertise in a specific area. They come into the classroom for a short period of time (2-4 days) to provide all students with areal-world context for a specific curricular area. The coach operates in a co-teaching approach where the coach and classroom teacher plan and present together.
Mentors are assigned to one team and will follow them through the entire process providing them with feedback and encouragement. While there are some days when the mentors will be present in class, most of this communication will occur outside of school time perhaps through email or phone calls.
- Running Lean by Ash Maurya is required reading for anyone interested in coaching or mentoring and will be used occasionally with students.
- The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries and Business Model Generation by Osterwalder and Pigneur can also provide helpful foundational understanding.