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9 Venture Capital Programs for High School Students

Venture capital (VC) represents the lifeblood of innovation in the startup ecosystem, fueling the growth of groundbreaking ideas into industry-leading enterprises. For high school students interested in entrepreneurship, investment, and technology, delving into the world of VC offers an unparalleled opportunity to understand the mechanisms that drive business success. Engaging with venture capital not only equips curious students with critical financial acumen but also fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging the next generation of leaders to step boldly into the future. As such, an exploration into VC can be an enriching addition to your educational journey, laying a foundation for informed decision-making, strategic thinking, and visionary leadership in any career path you choose to pursue.

The Young Founders Lab is a real-world start-up bootcamp founded and run by Harvard entrepreneurs. In this program, you will work towards building a revenue-generating start-up that addresses a real-world problem. You will also have the opportunity to be mentored by established entrepreneurs and professionals from Google, Microsoft, and X.

Apart from building the start-up itself, you will also participate in interactive classes on business fundamentals and business ideations, workshops and skill-building sessions, case studies, panel discussions and more.

The program is an excellent opportunity to delve into the world of business in high school, and having a space to explore multiple theoretical as well as practical frameworks that lead to a successful business. You can check out the brochure for the program here.

Cost: The total cost to attend the 4-week program is $2900. There is need-based financial aid. 

Location: This program is 100% virtual, with live, interactive workshops 

Eligibility: The program is currently open to all high school students

Program Dates: The 2024 edition of the program starts on June 5th and spans over 4-weeks.

Application Deadline: There are 3 application deadlines that you can choose between: 

  • Early Decision Deadline: March 17th, 2024

  • Regular Admission Deadline 1: April 14, 2024

  • Regular Admission Deadline 2: May 12th, 2023

You can access the application link here!

Location: Online and in-person events in Los Angeles, California region.

Cost: $800 for in-person events and $100 for online-only, with need-based scholarships available.

Program Dates: May-October, 2024.

Application Deadline: April 30, 2024.

Eligibility: Young women in grades 9-12 in October 2024.

The Junior VC Program by the Women Founders Network is an innovative initiative designed to introduce young women to the world of venture capital and entrepreneurship. This program seeks to empower the next generation of female leaders by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and networks necessary to succeed in the VC space. Participants engage in a hands-on curriculum that covers the fundamentals of venture capital, from evaluating startup pitches to understanding investment strategies and the intricacies of equity and funding rounds. The program emphasizes mentorship, offering participants the opportunity to learn directly from successful women venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Through workshops, panel discussions, and pitch events, students gain invaluable insights into the challenges and triumphs of investing in and running startups. 

A hallmark of the Junior VC Program is its focus on creating a supportive community where young women can build confidence, foster connections, and envision themselves as future leaders in venture capital and beyond. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, the Women Founders Network aims to diversify the VC landscape, making it more accessible and equitable for women from all backgrounds. This program not only equips participants with the tools to navigate the venture capital ecosystem but also inspires them to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions and contribute to a more diverse, innovative future.

Location: University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Cost: $5,000.

Program Dates: One to two weeks in July or August. 

Application Deadline: Around March or April.

Eligibility: Rising high school seniors with a strong interest in business, with a culminative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The Michigan Ross Summer Business Academy is an immersive, pre-collegiate program designed to introduce high school students to the fundamentals of business education, while also offering a glimpse into the collegiate experience at one of the nation's top business schools, the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Over the course of this intensive program, participants engage in a variety of interactive sessions, workshops, and team projects that cover a wide range of business disciplines, including marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, and leadership. This hands-on approach not only helps students gain a solid foundation in business principles but also encourages the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaborative skills.

Beyond the academic enrichment, the Summer Business Academy emphasizes personal growth and career exploration, offering students opportunities to interact with University of Michigan faculty, business professionals, and Ross alumni. These interactions provide invaluable insights into the business world and help students understand the potential career paths within the field of business. Additionally, participants get a taste of college life by residing on campus, which helps demystify the college experience and prepares them for future academic endeavors. The Michigan Ross Summer Business Academy represents a unique opportunity for high school students to explore their interest in business, develop key skills, and build a network with peers and professionals, setting a strong foundation for their future academic and professional pursuits.

Location: Ann Arbor, Bay Area, and online 

Cost: Depends on program; need-based scholarships available

Program Dates: Summer, typically in July-August

Application Deadline: Early applications in November, final deadlines in February

Eligibility: High school students with a strong interest in entrepreneurship, innovation, and venture creation

MIT LaunchX is a renowned summer program that invites high school entrepreneurs to the cutting-edge environment of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where they are immersed in the vibrant ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. Over the course of several weeks, participants work in teams to turn their startup ideas into reality under the guidance of experienced entrepreneurs and mentors. The curriculum is designed to cover all critical aspects of launching a startup, from ideation and market research to prototyping, business model development, and pitching to real investors. This hands-on approach not only teaches the foundational principles of entrepreneurship but also allows students to apply these concepts in a practical, real-world setting, thereby fostering a deep understanding of what it takes to build a successful venture.

For high school students, MIT LaunchX represents an extraordinary opportunity to explore the realm of entrepreneurship within a globally recognized hub of innovation. The program not only equips students with essential business skills and entrepreneurial mindset but also encourages critical thinking, resilience, and collaboration, skills that are invaluable in any future career path. Participants leave with not just a project or a business idea, but a transformed perspective on how they can impact the world through innovation. Furthermore, the chance to connect with like-minded peers from around the globe, engage with MIT's resources, and receive mentorship from industry experts makes LaunchX a truly unparalleled experience. It's an ideal platform for young, aspiring entrepreneurs to ignite their passion, refine their ideas, and take the first steps towards becoming the innovators and leaders of tomorrow.

Location: Online

Cost: $4250; need-based scholarships available.

Program Dates:

Two sessions from June 10th to July 19th, 2024 and July 8th to August 16th, 2024.

Application Deadline:

Priority applications on March 31, 2024, final deadlines on April 30, 2024.

Eligibility: High school students with a strong interest in entrepreneurship, innovation, and venture creation

The Harvard Ventures-TECH Summer Program (HVTSP) is a unique initiative for high school students, providing a unique blend of real-world startup experience and academic learning. Students intern at leading venture capital-backed startups, gaining direct insight from CEOs and founders, and attend classes led by renowned professors and successful entrepreneurs. Unlike other summer programs, you’ll be guaranteed internship experience within the industry, which is the capstone of HVTSP. You will be matched to a real, venture capital-backed startup run by serial founders and solving world-changing problems, where you’ll be working directly with the CEO or founder over the course of 6 weeks. Getting internship experience in VC as a high schooler is incredibly rare and rewarding, making HVTSP an incredible opportunity.

Overall, this program is fantastic for high schoolers interested in venture capital because it offers hands-on experience in the startup world, direct mentorship from industry leaders, and knowledge from academic experts, making it an ideal platform for aspiring young VCs. If you’re also thinking about applying to Harvard in the future, being able to connect with Harvard University experts and faculty and having a tangible Harvard-related experience will make your application stand out to admissions officers, which will elevate your chances of acceptance.

Location: Virtual, with the final event at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Cost: Free to participate.

Program Dates: Annual competition, typically runs September to April.

Application Deadline: Registration usually in late summer.

Eligibility: High school teams interested in investment and venture capital.

The Wharton Global High School Investment Competition is a prestigious, dynamic, and educational opportunity for high school students around the world to dive into the world of finance and investment. Hosted by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, this annual competition challenges teams of students to manage a portfolio of virtual investments, using real-world economic indicators and news events to make informed decisions. Participants are given the unique opportunity to act as investment analysts, developing and pitching a long-term strategy for a portfolio of assets. The competition not only aims to teach students about the complexities of investing and portfolio management but also emphasizes the importance of teamwork, communication, and strategic thinking in the fast-paced world of finance.

Throughout the competition, which spans several months, teams work under the guidance of teachers and mentors to research and select investments, all while adapting to the ever-changing global financial landscape. The culmination of their effort is a detailed investment report and a presentation to a panel of judges, consisting of finance professionals and Wharton faculty. This immersive experience not only provides a deep dive into the intricacies of finance and investment but also helps in cultivating a nuanced understanding of global economic factors and their impact on markets. For high school students interested in finance, economics, or business, the Wharton Global High School Investment Competition serves as an unparalleled platform to explore these interests, develop critical thinking skills, and connect with like-minded peers from across the globe. Moreover, if you perform well at this competition, then the experience will be a great addition to your college application as you apply to prestigious colleges, such as Wharton’s undergraduate program!

Location: Major cities globally, including virtual participation.

Cost: Program fees apply; financial aid available.

Program Dates: Year-round with a more intensive schedule in the summer.

Application Deadline: Rolling admissions, with priority deadlines typically in the spring.

Eligibility: High school students aged 13-17 with a passion for innovation and venture capital.

The Knowledge Society (TKS) Innovate Program is a groundbreaking initiative designed to empower high school students by immersing them in the world of emerging technologies and global challenges. Unlike traditional educational programs, TKS adopts a unique approach, focusing on developing the mindset and skills necessary for innovation and leadership in the 21st century. Participants are exposed to topics like artificial intelligence, blockchain, biotech, and more, through a combination of workshops, projects, and mentorship. This hands-on, project-based learning environment encourages students to tackle real-world problems, fostering a proactive, problem-solving mindset.

For high schoolers, the TKS Innovate Program represents an extraordinary opportunity to step beyond the confines of conventional education and engage with a like-minded community of ambitious peers. It's not just about acquiring knowledge; it's about applying that knowledge in meaningful ways to make an impact. Students learn critical soft skills such as public speaking, networking, and critical thinking, which are invaluable in any career path. Moreover, the program offers direct access to industry mentors, internships, and unique opportunities that can shape their future careers. For those looking to make a difference in the world and dive deep into the innovations shaping our future, TKS provides the tools, community, and platform to start that journey.

Location: Online.

Cost: $3,950, with limited financial aid available.

Program Dates: Four-week cohorts from mid-June to mid-August. 

Application Deadline: Unspecified, but sooner the better to secure a spot.

Eligibility: 9th-12th grade or just graduated (gap year students also eligible), located in the US, UK or Canada.

BETA Camp is a dynamic summer program designed for high school students who are passionate about exploring the realms of business, technology, and entrepreneurship. This immersive camp provides a hands-on learning experience that bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world application. Participants have the unique opportunity to work on practical projects, guided by industry experts and mentors, allowing them to delve into areas such as startup development, digital marketing, product design, and coding. The curriculum is carefully crafted to challenge students intellectually while fostering an environment of innovation and creativity.

What sets BETA Camp apart is its commitment to equipping young minds with the skills and mindset required to thrive in the fast-paced world of technology and business. The program not only focuses on technical skills but also emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, and teamwork. By the end of the summer, students emerge not just with a deeper understanding of the subjects but with tangible projects that demonstrate their ability to apply what they've learned. For high schoolers looking to get a head start on their entrepreneurial journey or to simply gain a competitive edge in the tech and business sectors, BETA Camp Summer 2024 offers an unparalleled opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with a global network of like-minded peers and professionals.

Location: Suffolk University campus in Boston.

Cost: Free.

Program Dates: July 8-25, 2024.

Application Deadline: April 12, 2024.

Eligibility: Rising high school seniors, with consideration to rising high school juniors if space is available. 

The Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School Summer Entrepreneurship Program is a no-cost, non-residential offering for high school students, which is designed to develop your entrepreneurial skills and mindset. This summer program dives deep into the entrepreneurial process, from idea generation to venture launch, providing real-world insights through classes, team projects, and interactions with successful entrepreneurs. By the end of the program, participants will have presented their own new concept in a culminative event. Supplementing the idea generation process will be visits with Boston’s top entrepreneurial organizations, which will enhance the students’ network. Besides hands-on business experience, participants gain a glimpse into college life at Suffolk, including access to campus resources and guidance on college applications, all while earning three Suffolk University credits.

Our Thoughts

These programs not only equip students with the practical skills and knowledge needed to navigate the complex landscape of startups and investment but also foster critical thinking, leadership, and teamwork. For high schoolers with a spark of entrepreneurial spirit, engaging in such programs could be a pivotal step in their personal and professional development, opening doors to new possibilities and networks that can shape their future endeavors.

If you’re interested in pursuing research in fields like business or related fields, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!

Lydia is currently a junior at Harvard University, studying Molecular and Cellular Biology and Economics. In high school, she was the captain of her high school’s Academic Decathlon team and attended the Governor's School of Engineering and Technology. She aims to become a life sciences consultant after graduation.

Image Source: Harvard logo


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