West Jefferson Hills launches INCubatoredu@TJHS entrepreneurship program
The West Jefferson Hills School District launched a new entrepreneurship program for Thomas Jefferson High School this year geared to providing students with an authentic learning experience around entrepreneurship through its new INCubatoredu Entrepreneurship class. This is an accelerated class in which students learn the LEAN business methodology, creating a “minimum viable product” at the end of the first semester, pitching the final product/service to a board of advisors (aka Sharks) at the end of the year for possible funding. Classes are taught by the business teacher as well as business professionals throughout the community. Lessons focus on positioning, finances, and marketing and development. Volunteer coaches teach the lessons and provide expertise in one or more of those areas. Mentors provide strategic guidance and inspiration to a team of 4 or 5 students. This blended instruction — classroom teacher, real-business mentors, outside coaches — provides real-world and experiential learning for the students. Through the process, students are grounded in critical skills vital for successful business building including collaboration, adaptability, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving. To date, the INCubatoredu Class has been busy brainstorming ideas for solving everyday problems, with each class member presenting a 60-second “problem pitch” to the class which was recorded for feedback and evaluation. Volunteer experts will be in the classroom to assist the students with their problem solutions and to provide guidance and direction.