This is a seven-week introductory course into entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship studies are popular in American colleges and universities. Barringer and Ireland (2016), citing a 2012 Gallop survey, reported that “59% of students [in] grades 5-12 say their school offers classes in how to start a business” (p.21). This Aim Academy course provides students an introduction into entrepreneurship. It engages and funnels young people’s creative talents by allowing them to experience how to move an idea into a working business. The course will showcase numerous examples of enterprising young people who are creating in order to solve real problems facing society and bring joy to those in need. For example, the Embrace Baby Warmer is a low-cost baby incubator for premature babies in developing countries (see www.embraceglobal.org). The concept was conceived, designed and built by four college students attending Stanford University. Another example highlights the zany creativity of John Cronin and his father Mark who together launched John’s Crazy socks (https://johnscrazysocks.com/) with a mission to spread happiness and joy to sock wearers everywhere. In this example John demonstrates that he did not let his condition of Down Syndrome stop him from turning his dream into reality. The course will focus on developing a successful business idea that we convert into a model that “earns money”. Students build a basic business model using established process or steps taken by entrepreneurs from around the world. The process or recipe helps students visualize dreams and speak them into existence.
Working with a seasoned entrepreneur and business school professor, students build self-confidence to identify, create and explore opportunities. This is accomplished partly through in-class and out-of-class exercises, designed to facilitate the construction of a real and viable business model. In part, students develop their understanding of the entrepreneurial process by watching video tutorials provided in pre-recorded videos followed by weekly live problem-solving and interactive learning sessions with the instructor and classmates. Students should expect to work 2-4 hours outside of class each week on their business venture.
Topics to be addressed include, but are not limited to:
Week 1: Introduction to the entrepreneur and brainstorming leading to opportunity discovery.
Week 2: Feasibility analysis
Week 3: Developing a business model
Week 4: Competitive analysis
Week 5: Resource marshalling
Week 6: Story telling
Week 7: Shark tank presentations given to instructor and assembled University professors and entrepreneurs selected by the instructor.
The course will have daily and weekly assignments. Daily assignments will consist of watching videos, reading short articles, and researching businesses and business models, then recording questions related to these activities as assigned. The recordings take the form of an ongoing diary capturing each experience and accompanying thoughts as students follow the recipe to launch a new business. Weekly assignments include the sharing of these diary entries and research findings in classroom discussions when we meet collectively in our synchronized sessions.
Weekly assignments also put into action a three-step process. The process begins when the instructor demonstrates a concept or activity, then all classmates together demonstrate an understanding of the concept or action followed by the student independently demonstrating mastery of a concept or action. The real learning begins with sharing the experiences and results of these collective activities with all so that we can all learn (instructor included) through shared experiences. Learning by doing is the best way to build entrepreneurial self-confidence and channel entrepreneurial passions into viable concepts.
Mandatory live classes reinforce entrepreneurial concepts learned via the experiences of the students as they build their business model.
Who should enroll?
The ideal student is someone who is other-oriented, seeking to provide solutions to answer the needs of others as well as someone who is excited or curious about the process of inventing, founding or nurturing an enterprise. Finally, the ideal student is one who realizes that the best way to learn is by actually doing that which they are trying to learn.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and microphone and camera (for live sessions and final shark tank presentations)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures and or assigned videos.
- Weekly assignments are downloaded as PDF files from the website.
- Homework and essay/diaries are shared as a word doc or PDF.
Evaluation and Feedback
Students will be assessed on homework, participation and final the project presentation that resembles a “Shark Tank” like pitch to the professors team of merry characters made up of business school professors and entrepreneurs. Submitted student work will be graded with feedback and returned within one week of the due dates. Outside of class times, student may contact the teacher using the Canvas message board with any questions or concerns.
Grades are perpetually available throughout the course and parents may contact me through Canvas messages on the course website. Parents are encouraged to oversee the work of their student for timeliness and completeness. Parents should remember this is an elective class that is designed to allow the student to explore her/his creative self.