LeAp Launches its Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs Program
Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs, generously funded by Blackstone, gives disadvantaged elementary school age students the opportunity to learn from successful entrepreneurs, create their own businesses, apps, games or inventions, and then maybe, just maybe, bring their ideas to the real-world marketplace.
This new LeAp program is taking place in 49 third- through sixth-grade classes in thirteen NYC schools from mid-March through June. During fifteen weekly sessions, students identify opportunities and assess needs for products/services or problems that need solutions. Students master basic skills needed to design projects and create working models. Using these new skills students create small business ventures, apps, marketable games or inventions that either solve problems or fill the needs using the skills they have mastered. LeAp teaching consultants meet weekly with students; helping them design and develop their projects. Once satisfied with their project designs, student devise comprehensive marketing campaigns taking into account their target audience. Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs aligns with the national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) initiative. So that, as these disadvantaged students start a business or create an invention, they will also receive much needed additional instruction in math, science, and technology.
An important part of the program are the visits from business professionals and entrepreneurs. During these classroom visits the experts share their expertise and passion for their own projects as well as offer some advice to the students. Every class will receive at least one visit. Visits will usually last just one forty-five minute periods.
A culminating conference will take place in June. The conference will bring together entrepreneurs, members of the business community and the students with the best projects. At this conference, students will share their projects and hear additional advice from the experts. By the end of the conference students will begin to understand how to develop a business plan for their project. Some of the professionals may take on a student’s project and help the student develop it further. Some of the volunteers and professionals may also choose to act as mentors and role-models.
By the completion of the program we hope that all students will understand that anyone can have an innovative idea and that the best ideas will rise to the top, regardless of socio-economic background. We wish to instill the concept of “life offers many possibilities” in these young students, age 8-12, as early as possible in order to support their self-image and inspire their ambition.
By the end of the program we expect that: students will demonstrate an understanding of basic entrepreneurial and business concepts and will have fully participated in a Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs program. In addition, students will have made the connection between entrepreneurship and a potential positive impact on their community. We hope that many of the students will see themselves as catalysts for change. Finally, classroom teachers will be equipped to replicate Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs.