‘Shark Tank’ for High-Schoolers

Introducing INCubatoredu@Lakota: ‘Shark Tank’ for High-Schoolers
Posted on 12/04/2019
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Shark Tank class for high schoolers

Lakota is the second school district in Ohio - and one of just 120 nationwide - to make “Shark Tank” a class for its high-schoolers next school year. Families are invited to get a sneak peek at an upcoming information session on Dec. 12.

Officially called INCubatoredu@Lakota, the entrepreneurial experience is designed for upperclassmen who will work alongside professional mentors to ideate and develop their own product or service. In the end, they will compete against their classmates, pitching their ideas to local investors who will award seed money to help make the top ideas a reality. The program is sponsored by Miami University’s Farmer School of Business John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship. 


“The 4Es - Enrollment, Employment, Enlistment and Entrepreneurship - are more than just a mantra for what we promote to our students as options after graduation. We are always striving to make sure our programming supports it,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “We are excited to bring INCubatoredu to our students because it is designed to give them a true taste of what it takes to be an entrepreneur in today’s world.” 


This newest venture has been running parallel to the work of a steering committee made up of mostly local business leaders. The group has completely reimagined Lakota’s pathway for future business owners and entrepreneurs. 


“It’s been awesome to be part of a dynamic group of business leaders to help mold the future of American entrepreneurs and business leaders,” said local entrepreneur Steve Nguyen, a partner at Hackman Financial Group. “The partnership of a powerful education and practical interpersonal skills provides our Lakota students with the opportunity to experience ‘the business of life’!”


The group has devised two year-long introductory courses called “Essentials” and “Application and Design.” A combination of teacher-led instruction and visiting experts in both courses addresses business-minded concepts like finance, marketing, human resources, operations and leadership. They set the foundation for INCubatoredu@Lakota, which completes the series and gives students an opportunity to apply what they learn.


The series, in its entirety, aligns with Lakota’s commitment to integrate real world learning into the student experience, especially where it promotes exploration of the 4Es. Experiences like last month’s “4E Lunch & Learn” at Lakota West High School, for example, help students explore career possibilities. The first of four sessions brought in local entrepreneurs to share their personal stories with students. 


“INCubatoredu is as real as it gets,” said Lakota’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Keith Koehne. “Lakota’s new Portrait of a Graduate literally defines the skills, characteristics and attributes the district wants to develop in every Lakota graduate. This program will give students an opportunity to practice every one of those skills.” 


During the program’s inaugural year, rising juniors and seniors are eligible to participate in the entrepreneurial portion of Lakota’s new business track without taking the introductory courses; seniors will participate in an accelerated version. Students and parents are invited to learn more about this new real world learning opportunity at a presentation on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at Miami University Voice of America. Click here to pre-register for the information session.