It’s common to think that college, summer internships, or that first full-time job will provide the answer to the question “What am I going to be when I grow up?”. However, more often than not, rather than directly answer this question, college, internships, and entry-level jobs miss the mark. These experiences can often be more focused on theoretical classroom knowledge (college) or represent the “luck of the draw” of the hiring needs of a company (internship, first-time job). The outcomes of these traditional approaches are based more on happenstance than a methodical way for people to discover how to do what they love.
Entrepreneurship provides an attractive alternative that allows individuals to determine for themselves what they will be doing with their careers and futures. Rather than hope for inspiration to potentially strike in the classroom, or the chance to match the individual with the right company and right professional role at the right time, entrepreneurship allows students to take their futures into their own hands and take an active role in developing their careers. Starting a company allows students to put their “passion into practice” by focusing on their own personal areas of interest, finding an unmet need in the market, and using creativity and initiative to build a solution.
Easier said than done, one might say? Starting a business is no small feat, but new summer programs are emerging to give high school students the support and mentorship they need to start companies and get them off the ground. Programs by LeanGap, MIT Launch and Endevvr specialize in helping high school students start their own businesses over the course of a summer.
Here are 5 reasons why high school students should consider attending a summer program focused on entrepreneurship:
Better envision your future: Entrepreneurship allows students to focus on their passions and discover first-hand what type of work they like.
Differentiate your resume: At the end of the program, participants have created an entity (i.e. their own business) which is a tremendous differentiator on their college applications.
Learn Hands-on: Program participants “learn by doing” as opposed to traditional classroom learning. Entrepreneurship is the ideal way to develop hands-on leadership and creative thinking skills. Program participants also develop practical knowledge and learn to work in teams solving real-world problems.
Experience an unique environment: Students interact with experienced entrepreneurs who can provide both inspiration and guidance. The program staff also provides mentorship and coaching to help students through business challenges.
Introduce yourself to a diverse, talented peer group: Entrepreneurship program participants develop an international network of friends with similar passions, initiative and motivation.