This is not a simulation...
Some entrepreneurship education programs step students through exercises that simulate an entrepreneurship experience. The Uncharted Learning program, INCubatoredu, is a high school course that provides students with the skills, tools and mindset to build an actual business—this is authentic student entrepreneurship.
However, creating and sustaining a viable, real-world business requires round-the-clock dedication over time. Uncharted Learning's second-year high school program, ACCELeratoredu, provides advanced instruction and expert connections for teen entrepreneurs to stay engaged and continue building their businesses.
What is ACCELeratoredu?
After INCubatoredu, teen entrepreneurs may likely have a viable idea, prototype, maybe even seed funding—not to mention passion, energy and momentum. But what is the path forward? How can students build on progress made and what they've learned in INCubatoredu?
Enter ACCELeratoredu, a second-year curriculum focused on three primary areas:
- Company Formation
- Market Traction
- Iterating & Scaling
ACCELeratoredu brings the answers into focus by providing the space, teams, and guidance students need to take things to the next level. Students direct how class time is used to drive their businesses forward—a real-world lesson in time management and accountability-based learning. Students, educators, and mentors work together to seek the answers to the questions: What’s next, how do we prioritize and set up accountabilities? And, more importantly, how do we take the next right step?
Benefits of ACCELeratoredu for Teen Entrepreneurs
As a complement to INCubatoredu, the ACCELeratoredu experience transitions businesses founded in year one into sustainable, functioning ventures. The experience models a real-life start-up accelerator focused on developing teams through mentorship, education, connections, and accountability to launch a company.
ACCELeratoredu is designed to empower students with more advanced start-up and business skills and experiences. This includes building a customer pipeline, customer processing, legal documentation to become a recognized entity at the state and federal levels, creating contracts and terms of agreements for customers, developing standard operating systems, and continuing to build, test, and iterate their product or service.
Although every student entrepreneur enters ACCELeratoredu at a different stage of business, there are commonalities and crossovers in key areas that help unite classmates (and teachers).
One of these key areas is goal setting. ACCELeratoredu and its resources, like 'Founders Guides', exist to help students identify, break down, and work towards their goals. Goal Setting helps students build a foundation for their business, and, more importantly, helps them understand a realistic pace at which to work. Goals help break big-picture ideas into smaller, digestible pieces, and provide a guardrail against which students can measure their learnings and successes over time.
Team, Personal and Professional Development
“Working on a team can be difficult,” says ACCEleratoredu student Lillian. “We don’t always agree with each other. We can have fights about the smallest thing, but you learn from them.”
Adults, we all know how challenging it can be to work in teams. And we all know how challenging being a teenager can be, too. These students are shattering the norm by engaging one another in important business conversations, and building communication and problem-solving skills in real-time. As students enter ACCELeratoredu at different jumping-off points, the teachers, mentors and coaches foster connections among students and with experts in the field. One of the key benefits of INCubatoredu and ACCELeratoredu compared to other classes is the opportunities students have to meet real-life entrepreneurs.
ACCELeratoredu volunteers give their time to offer students a real-life, “boots on the ground” perspective on running a successful business. INCubatoredu brings mentors and coaches into the classroom, too, but ACCELeratoredu is where specialized connections are made and more advanced skills are developed.
One way that skills are developed is through the 'Building Your Founders Toolkit Series', a series of contests where students create marketing materials. In developing their own media kit or personal branding and networking guide they’re gaining tools to grow their business and further their professional skills. In our eyes, every ACCELeratoredu student wins just by entering the contest, but two actual winners are chosen to take part in a consultation with a start up expert to review their materials and offer advice.
Access and Connections
ACCELeratoredu provides opportunities for true work-based learning. Students experience mentorship, and direct exposure to careers and career paths through network connections.
ACCELeratoredu also creates opportunities for students to secure real funding and to connect with experts and entrepreneurs. By creating opportunities for teen entrepreneurs to pitch, network, and learn in real start-up settings, ACCELeratoredu provides a real-world experience to these entrepreneurs.
Capital Factory Event in Texas
An example of this is a recent event held at Capital Factory, an innovation lab in Texas, where 150 students from 11 Austin- and San Antonio-area school districts gathered for a pitch event.
Both INCubatoredu and ACCELeratoredu students had the opportunity to experience an authentic accelerator space, as well as hear from the creator of Lean Canvas and author of Running Lean, Ash Maurya. Ash offered attendees first-hand instruction on the lean business model and how it’s evolved over the last 10 years. From advising countless businesses all around the world to lending a foundational hand in INCubatoredu curriculum, Ash is more than an expert in the industry—his advice is sage and his counsel is rich in both value and content.
At the Capital Factory event, six ACCELeratoredu teams pitched their businesses to real investors and judges Erika Haskins, CEO at 3 Day Startup; Margo Jordan, Founder and CEO of Enrichly; Bruno Rodrigues, Google Cloud; and Diego Rubio, Program Manager, University of Texas Blackstone Launchpad. The pitching teams—The Hive from Leander ISD, Vista Ridge High School; Sensate from Northeast ISD, Ronald Reagan High School; Recycleaf from Alamo Heights ISD, Alamo Heights High School; PharmAssist from Eanes ISD, Westlake High School; 512 View from Lake Travis ISD, Lake Travis High School; and Compactables from Midlothian ISD, The MILE. All shared their progress and received great strategic advice to move their businesses forward.
Students also got to watch, listen, learn and “rub elbows” with some of the industry’s best in an Ask Me Anything session, where real-life Capital Factory consultants and mentors offered candid advice about early-stage startups. Touring Capital Factory’s space was the cherry on top.
Help Your Students ACCELerate Today
INCubatoredu introduces high school students to entrepreneurship and opens their eyes to possibilities. It’s often a first step toward helping students build the skills of an entrepreneur (and create start-ups!)—and ACCELeratoredu keeps the momentum going. The program builds on the foundation students gain from INCubatoredu, opening even more doors for students to drive their own success.