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8 High School Entrepreneurship Programs You Should Check Out

As a high schooler, if you’re thinking about entrepreneurship, about your own startup, then this blog is for you. These programs will introduce you to the fundamentals of starting and managing a business and help you build a practical skill set in financial literacy, strategic planning, and innovative thinking. 

High school also offers the perfect time to explore your interests, gain experience, and lay the groundwork for your future career. Not to mention, doing a program outside the school curriculum will demonstrate to college admissions officers that you’re dedicated to pursuing your passions and furthering your education!

Why consider an entrepreneurship program in high school?

Considering an entrepreneurship program before college sounds like a good idea. Here’s why:

1. Real-world experience

Interning at a startup or participating in an entrepreneurship program exposes you to the nuances of starting and running a business. From developing a business plan to marketing strategies, you'll get hands-on experience that goes beyond textbooks and classrooms.

2. Application-based learning

Entrepreneurship is about more than just theory; it's about execution. These programs allow you to apply what you've learned in the classroom to real-world situations, honing your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

3. Networking opportunities

One of the most significant benefits of entrepreneurship programs is connecting with like-minded individuals, mentors, and industry professionals. These connections can be invaluable as you navigate your entrepreneurial journey.

4. Resume & college applications boost

Participating in prestigious entrepreneurship programs demonstrates your initiative, leadership, and passion for innovation—qualities that colleges and future employers seek. It also sets you apart from other applicants and gives you a competitive edge.

To help you get started, we’ve listed 10 of the best entrepreneurship programs for high school students in this blog. Get started on building your business portfolio with one of these!

These entrepreneurship programs offer invaluable experiences and opportunities for high school students to explore their interests, gain practical skills, and pave the way for a successful future in entrepreneurship and startups.

Founded by Harvard alumni, Ladder Internships pairs high school students with startups and nonprofits across the world for virtual internship opportunities. As an intern, you can choose which field you wish to work in - from a wide range of industry options including media, healthcare, AI, technology, engineering, sustainability and more. 

You will work on a real-world project ongoing at the organization, under the mentorship of your startup manager and a Ladder coach - who will guide you throughout the internship. At the end of the program, you will get the chance to present your work. The program also offers one-on-one skills training and group training sessions with fellow interns.

Location: Virtual. Work from anywhere in the world!

Cost: Programs start at $1,990. Financial aid is offered.

Eligibility: Open to all high school students who can work for 10–20 hours per week, for 8–12 weeks. The internships are also open to gap-year students! 

Application deadline: Multiple deadlines throughout the year. The summer cohort deadline is April 14, 2024. 

Program dates: 8-week programs with multiple cohorts throughout the year. 

The Young Founder’s Lab is a real-world start-up bootcamp founded and run by Harvard entrepreneurs. With this program, you will get to 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 working on 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 a solid opportunity to explore the world of business while in high school, and can be a platform where you can explore multiple theoretical as well as practical frameworks that lead to a successful business. You can check out the brochure for the program here.

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

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

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

Application Deadline: 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.

Program Dates: The 2024 session starts on June 5 and spans 4-weeks.

The Wharton Global Youth Business Programs' Essentials of Entrepreneurship program offers an opportunity to build the foundational knowledge that’s essential when it comes to launching your own venture. During the program, you will explore the process of starting a successful startup through lectures, recitations, and hands-on activities. This program covers core techniques in user research, opportunity testing, developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), marketing, scaling, and exiting. You will collaborate with peers, engage in innovative thinking, and develop a pitch for an early-stage startup.

The course is not just for those planning to start their own company but also for anyone looking to innovate within established organizations. It encourages an entrepreneurial mindset which is applicable across various fields. During the summer, you'll attend lectures by notable Wharton faculty, lecturers, and PhD students, learn in teams, explore historic Philadelphia, and experience college life on Penn’s Ivy League campus. Completing the program earns you a Wharton Global Youth Certificate of Completion.

Location: University of Pennsylvania

Cost: $7,599

Eligibility: High school students in grades 9-11 (check program specific eligibility here)

Application deadline: April 3, 2024

Program dates: Two-week sessions in June-August depending on dates you choose

This entrepreneurship program encourages students to explore the world of entrepreneurship, innovation, and business leadership. Every year, 50 students are selected. In the program, you will learn through online classroom instruction, independent research, computer lab assignments and team projects. The courses will be taught by Haas faculty, PhD candidates, and undergraduate students; guest lectures delivered by experts from the industry will provide real-world perspectives. During the program, you will work on and learn about teamwork and leadership, marketing, finance, accounting, game theory, management, corporate social responsibility, and also participate in a public speaking and presentation workshop.

Location: University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Cost: $80 application fee + $6,050 (for residents of California) | $7,050 (for those residing outside California). The fee covers tuition, materials, housing, campus fees, bank fees, credit card fees, third party system and administrative fees.

Eligibility: Academically motivated, mature high school students may apply.

Application deadline: February 29, 2024

Program dates: Session I: July 6-20, 2024 | Session II: July 20-August 3, 2024

LaunchX, a fairly selective program with a 10-20% admissions rate, allows students to immerse themselves in a comprehensive entrepreneurial journey, guided by experienced mentors and like-minded peers. The main goal of the program is to empower you to create your own business, collaborating with fellow "Launchies" as co-founders. Engaging with LaunchX feels like a blend of an accelerator, startup conference, and a summer internship. 

The program's efficacy is evident from self-reported statistics, with 70% of alumni actively involved in startups, and 15% of startups initiated during LaunchX still flourishing. Established in 2012 as the Launch Program, it became part of MIT's Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship in 2014. Now a private global education company, LaunchX offers three distinct summer entrepreneurship programs. It features sessions led by CEOs, entrepreneurs, attorneys, inventors, innovators, and professors. LaunchX, with its MIT association, garners inherent prestige and has earned recognition from Inc. Magazine, CNBC, and the QS Reimagine Education Awards, making it a global platform.

You can take a look at their comprehensive program guide here.

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan | UC Berkeley | Online

Cost: Varied costs. Some financial aid is available.

Eligibility: All high school students may apply. 

Application deadline: April 24, 2024

Program dates: Dates vary for the in-person and online programs. Check details here!

At this intensive program at Georgetown University, you can build both theoretical and practical knowledge. You will explore entrepreneurship's history, foundations, and vital questions as a life skill, such as identifying market needs and building support networks. During the program, you will participate in workshops, lectures, and group projects, gaining insights into the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship. You will also delve into the dynamics of success, failure, and innovation while discovering various business models and honing their pitching skills. 

A key feature is the opportunity to develop and refine a business idea, culminating in a pitch competition in front of real entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Through this process, you will be able to talk to mentors that will guide you through your business idea. The program also includes visits to startups and innovation hubs in Washington D.C., providing a firsthand look at the entrepreneurial landscape.

Location: Georgetown University, Washington D.C. (a portion of the program will be conducted virtually)

Cost: $1,795

Eligibility: Current high school students 

Application deadline: Session I: March 10, 2024 | Session II: March 31, 2024 | Session III: April 28, 2024

Program dates: Session I: March 17 to 31, 2024 | Session II: April 7 to May 5, 2024 | Session III: May 5 to June 2, 2024

Every year, the Bank of America Student Leaders Program selects about 300 driven, community-minded high schoolers to participate in the program. If selected, you will intern with nonprofits like Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Habitat for Humanity and experience community service through a paid eight-week internship. 

This highly selective internship includes a week-long Student Leadership Summit held in Washington, DC. The travel, food and stay for the same will be covered by the bank. During the summit, you will get to understand how stakeholders like nonprofits, governments, and businesses collaborate and interact to meet local needs. This experience can help you understand how to create change and make an impact within your community.

Location: The program is held all across the country – you will be assigned a local non-profit organization to work with in your region/area. The Leadership Summit will be held in Washington DC.

Stipend: It is a paid internship, but no information is available on the exact amount. The trip to Washington DC is covered by the bank!

Eligibility: Current high school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply. See all eligibility criteria here.

Application Deadline: Applications open in October and typically close in January.

Program dates:  8-week summer internship, including an all expenses-covered week-long Student Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. Dates vary by location, but the internship usually begins shortly after the school year ends.

Ladders for Leaders allows high school and college students to engage in paid professional summer internships with prominent organizations across New York City, spanning corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Employers who opt for Ladders for Leaders interns gain access to vetted and trained candidates that match their needs. Students undergo a rigorous application process and receive 30 hours of pre-employment training. Ladders for Leaders is a large facet of NYC's Summer Youth Employment Program, the foremost summer jobs initiative nationwide.

Location: New York City

Cost: No cost. Students will receive a stipend.

Eligibility: Applicants must be between 16 and 21 years old with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Participants must be residents of NYC and have some prior work experience.

Application deadline: January 21, 2024

Program dates: 6 weeks in the summer

If you’re interested in pursuing research in fields like entrepreneurship or related fields, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I 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!

Tenzing Dolma is a master's student specializing in research following the Nechung Oracle and the historical, religious, and cognitive approaches to its presence. She has a bachelor's in Neuroscience from Loyola University Chicago and is completing her graduate studies at Columbia University. She hopes to help students find their passions through access to programs and organizations the same way she found hers!

Image Source: Ladder Internships


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