Inside Kane County Schools: INCubator EDU Sharpens Skills With Shark-Tank-Style Pitch Night
Preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow is tough work. With changes happening in the job marketplace each year, giving students hands-on experiences is key to future success. That’s why schools are constantly innovating and developing new curricula that prepare students for the future.
One way that high schools are preparing students for their future is by offering a course called INCubator EDU. Incubator EDU is an entrepreneurship program that provides students a practical entrepreneurship experience, where they work in teams to create a product or service.
During the program, they are coached and mentored by local entrepreneurs and business experts that guide them through the entire startup process. The program ends in a “Shark Tank” style Pitch Night, where students pitch their products/services to local business professionals.
Dundee-Crown, Batavia Success Stories
Already, two high schools in Kane County have successfully implemented Incubator EDU as part of their curriculum and have seen great success stories come out of their classrooms. Dundee-Crown High School has offered the program since 2015 and Batavia High School has offered the program since 2016.
Dannielle Stratton, a recent Dundee-Crown graduate, said the program had been the most impactful course in her high school career.
“The amount of support and guidance you receive as a student in the program makes it extremely difficult to not be successful at growing in your own personal and professional development,” she commented. “From all of the coaches, community experts, and an incredible teacher I learned how to become a more effective communicator and public speaker. I’ve learned how to carry myself in a professional manner and how to take ideas into fruition.”
National Pitch Night Competition
The Dundee-Crown INCubator EDU program has experienced great success each year, with a student team named First Step even winning the 2016 INCubator National Pitch Night Competition.
Batavia High School has experienced similar success and seen many students gain valuable business experience.“We are really proud of our expanding program and how it’s giving our students real-world, hands-on experiences,” Batavia High School INCubator Entrepreneurship Instructor Dennis Piron shared. “Over the course of two semesters, students work in teams and learn by doing. They develop a business model, gain market input, test all elements rigorously to improve their concept, and then pitch it to real business professionals at the end of the school year.”
The success of the INCubator EDU program at Dundee-Crown and Batavia High School is encouraging to several other high schools in Kane County that are launching their own INCubator EDU programs for the 2018-19 school year.
Central High School in District 301 and St. Charles North and East High Schools in District 303 are gearing up for their respective launches and are currently recruiting for program volunteers. Batavia High School and Dundee-Crown High School are looking for volunteers, as well.
Mentors Needed To Help Lead, Inspire
Each school is looking for volunteers to be program coaches that will assist in teaching lessons in their area of expertise, mentors that will provide student teams with strategic guidance, and members on a board of advisors that offer strategic evaluations at the school’s Pitch Night.
If you or someone you know would like this opportunity to help lead, assist, and inspire the entrepreneurs of the future, you can fill out the following form for each High School Programs:
- Batavia High School
- Central High School
- Dundee-Crown High School
- St. Charles East and St. Charles North High School
About the Kane County Regional Office of Education
Led by Regional Superintendent of Schools Patricia Dal Santo, the Kane County ROE is located in Geneva and serves nine school districts. From teacher licensure assistance to professional development, the ROE’s mission is to advocate for education, provide leadership and perform regulatory functions. Learn more about the ROE’s offerings on Facebook, Twitter and by signing up for the semimonthly newsletter.