Young entrepreneurs tend to get noticed. They take risks, challenge the status quo, and on occasion, reinvent entire industries. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg even had a feature film created about his meteoric rise from Ivy League college student to CEO of one of the world’s most successful businesses.
Why wait until college? The Incubator School in Los Angeles is now cultivating that entrepreneurial drive in middle school. That’s right; they are starting with 11- to 13-year olds. And the effort is getting global attention with the BBC News article Kids Inc: Meet the youngsters running their own companies. We see signs of global interest, like this link to the Spanish-language version of the article that came across our Twitter feed from Colombia.
The school’s curriculum emphasizes innovation and business education. Its goal is to graduate creative, competent, self-starting innovators with experience designing and launching a startup.
School founder Sujata Bhatt tells the BBC that social change and ethics are part of the goal:
How are they teaching entrepreneurship? The school has adopted the principles of next generation learning, and is using blended learning and project-based learning approaches. They work to connect and integrate: across subject areas, within the community. They encourage learning from problems and mistakes, iteration and improvement, and social and emotional development alongside academics.
Each student will get a chance to test their chops at entrepreneurship. Eighth graders launch a startup within the school, and 12th graders launch or work at one in the “real world.”
The Incubator School was awarded an NGLC planning grant in July 2013 and a subsequent launch grant this past May. Learn more about Inc. on its grant recipient page.