When it comes to summer learning, the team at National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) says it best:
“Creating opportunities for summer learning sets the stage for innovation, creativity, and leadership in every community: the young people we nurture today are the foundation of our society tomorrow.”
There’s no better way to “set the stage” for summer learning than offering a youth entrepreneurship program! Learn more with these top three reasons why you should bring entrepreneurship to your summer learning:
1. Engagement: Fun for everyone!
For youth, an entrepreneurship summer program is just flat out fun! They get to come together with their peers in a safe learning environment where taking creative risks, sharing ideas, and being yourself are promoted.
“Having been in a virtual classroom and struggling to engage, VentureLab activities were the first time my students actually asked to do more of something,” said Jisuka Hessler, dean of students at Graham Middle School.
Engaging content is especially important in the summer, where recruiting youth for programs can be challenging. Entrepreneurship is fun for youth, but it’s also a topic of increasing interest for parents who have noticed the rise in small business creation during the pandemic.
They also realize the benefits of teaching their children the entrepreneurial mindsets and skills that will help their kids in school and life whether they go on to actually start a business or not.
Youth build their confidence and courage as they explore ideas that are of interest and importance to them. These ideas become prototypes of products, services, or apps that get tested, improved, and then pitched on the final day.
VentureLab has programs that are developmentally appropriate for grades 1-2 as well as 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Learn more here!
2. Flexibility: Any time, any place
Summer schedules vary widely! Each program site has its own unique schedule and menu of programs. Entrepreneurial learning activities can integrate into existing program content or be implemented as a stand-alone offering.
From 2 months, 6 weeks, or a few days, a sequence of entrepreneurial learning activities can be curated to meet your needs.
An example of this is from New Jersey-based FOCUS Nita M Lowey 21CCLC After-School Program. They embedded entrepreneurship within their theme-based summer offerings. Genesis attended the virtual program and created a solution for a need she identified. Check out her pitch below:
3. Community: Bring everyone together
Summer entrepreneurship programming offers a unique opportunity to bring together and strengthen the connection between students, families, and community. After all, it does take a village!
During the summer program, ask local business owners or chamber of commerce members to share their stories and experiences. Find community members that are representative of the youth you serve so students can see themselves and a possible path for their future they may not have considered before.
As students develop ideas for a business, mentors and subject matters experts can be brought in (Zoom!) to mentor youth or provide technical assistance in developing a product, service, or app.
At the end of the program, hold a pitch event where students can showcase their work and learning from the summer with family and friends. This is a proud moment for the student to take the microphone and courageously share what they created.
This event can also include a market, with booths set up for students to display advertisements, prototypes, or goods they might be selling.
For the pitch event, bring in community and school leaders to serve as panelists. They can be judges to select winners or serve as experts to provide encouragement and feedback.
Looking for a youth entrepreneurship program?
VentureLab offers youth entrepreneurship programs for a wide variety of grades and settings, including:
Idea to Pitch (grades 3-5, grades 6-12):
Students apply their passions and strengths to identify opportunities to creatively solve problems, develop their solution into a business, and pitch the idea. The Idea to Pitch Program is also perfect for engaging teachers and students in project based learning.
Social Entrepreneurship (grades 9-12):
Students creatively solve societal challenges using entrepreneurship. Youth design their solution through the design thinking process, carry out market research, create a sustainable business model, and present their idea in a culminating pitch presentation.
Career Exploration & Innovation (grades 6-8):
Students identify opportunities to discover, research, and innovate a career. The program also teaches youth how to communicate like a professional, use technology for effective inquiry, and leverage their networks.