July 23, 2015
Creating young leaders: Boot camp coaches high school students in entrepreneurship
Share this story
On July 18–19, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, along with Junior Achievement of Central Virginia, hosted its first Entrepreneur Bootcamp, a program that coaches rising juniors and seniors at area high schools to think like an entrepreneur.
The high school students not only learned the basics of being an entrepreneur, but also directly applied their experience at the boot camp to plan an innovative, budgeted solution to a real community problem, helping VCU continue to deliver on its commitment to community engagement.
“It’s not a simulation. It’s not a case study,” said Jay Markiewicz, executive director of entrepreneurship programs at the VCU School of Business. “It’s, ‘Hey, help us solve some of these problems,’ and, ‘How would you build a business around that?’”
Students, divided into five teams, worked on problems concerning family, school or the public. Teams brainstormed to identify problems within their assigned community and presented their solutions to their parents and a panel of judges, who evaluated the projects and declared a winner.
The winning team recognized that students are hesitant to discuss bullying incidents with administrators and suggested creating an app as a platform to speak out anonymously. The app would serve as a record of the incidents and notify administrators immediately of the report. The team received gift card prizes amounting to $300.
It’s for the students to know that we’re all unique for a purpose and an entrepreneur is a great thing to be if that’s what they are.
The boot camp inspired students to think creatively to address a need and to use entrepreneurship tools to make a difference.
“It’s about an educational experience that gets them to think differently,” said Yedda Stancil, VCU alumni and entrepreneur. “It’s for the students to know that we’re all unique for a purpose and an entrepreneur is a great thing to be if that’s what they are.”
“It’s a really great program. I know I learned a lot,” said Tyra Wade, a student at Varina High School and media intern at Capital One. “By next year I would have already started my business, and I’ll come back. Maybe I’ll learn more skills.”
Subscribe to the weekly VCU News email newsletter at http://newsletter.news.vcu.edu/ and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Thursday.
Subscribe to VCU News
Subscribe to VCU News at newsletter.vcu.edu and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox.