As pioneers in developing entrepreneurship programming for students in Louisville and the local region, Collegiate’s Upper School has formally offered entrepreneurship studies since 2014. With a campus located in the Highlands, a historical and urban part of Louisville, easy access to local businesses and Louisville entrepreneurs feeds Collegiate’s entrepreneur education program.
All 10th-grade students enroll in the Design course as part of The Edge program. Students follow a structured Design Thinking process to discover possible solutions to a specific problem, then use conventional wood and metalworking tools, electronics diagnostic, assembly tools, and 21st-century fabrication tools such as a laser cutter, vinyl cutter, and 3D Printer to develop prototypes in an attempt to solve the problem.
All 11th-grade students enroll in the Solve course as part of The Edge program. Local CEO’s and startup leaders present real-world business problems to the students on campus. After weeks of creative problem solving and market research, our students pitch their solutions off campus to the CEOs in company boardrooms.
In 12th grade, all students spend one-quarter participating weekly in a mini-internship experience with a local business, entrepreneur, or non-profit organization. Time off campus brings their entrepreneurial mindset to the real world, deepening their professional networks, while logging invaluable workplace experiences.
Upper School Elective Course
The Upper School offers semester-long elective courses such as Engineering Design, Maker Portfolio, Entrepreneurial Problem Solving (EPS), and Entrepreneurship Through Startup (ETS) for students that want to dive deeper into designing, creating, building, inventing, and problem-solving. By doing work that is used in the real world by companies and nonprofits, or exhibited in public forums through pitch events to experts and community members, our students put their grit to the test.
Young Entrepreneurs Club
Student members of the Young Entrepreneur Club follow the #startupweekend framework to develop startup pitches that utilize the business canvas model as a guiding map. Partnered with Venture Connectors and Junior Achievement, Collegiate students participate annually in “The Pitch” competition in downtown Louisville. Local members of the startup community work with students as startup mentors.
Senior Capstone Project
Each year seniors dive into a Senior Capstone Project, an opportunity to engage and explore a topic of personal interest. Project topic parameters are purposely flexible and projects are largely limited only by a student’s own initiative and imagination. Some students choose to engage in entrepreneurial endeavors which in the past have included building a guitar, designing and prototyping a glass toaster, building a sensor-based warning light system for garage parking, and inventing a board game while utilizing the 3D printer to manufacture the game pieces.