A new student organization at George School gives student innovators a chance to develop their ideas into products. The Entrepreneur Club is part of the MIT Launch Program, which helps high school students start companies.
According to the MIT Launch Program’s Facebook page, the program gives students the skills and mindset to start a company. The site reads, “Our programs help students leverage their talents and tenacity to build a viable startup. Our signature offering taps into the potential of ambitious high school students. You will be challenged to push yourself beyond your limits as you ideate, prototype, sell, and grow your company.”
George School student Katherine Hoang ’19 hoped to attend the four week program at MIT over the summer, but was unable to. “When I found out that I couldn’t attend, their representative suggested an alternative, which was to bring this program to my school as a club,” said Katherine. “It’s similar to the summer program but is spread from October to April. I applied for this program last year, during the last week of school. I had to write a few short essays and do a video of myself as part of the application. The good news was George School was accepted and able to participate in the program.”
As part of the program’s required structure, Katherine had to search for a few candidates to fill a variety of leadership positions, including a faculty sponsor. The club currently has five student leaders, Katherine, Mindy Xu ’19, Alexandre Cartier ’19, Kaitlyn Lee ’19, and Kerry Chen ’19. Tim Major is the club’s faculty sponsor.
“George School’s program will help interested students develop their idea into an actual product,” said Katherine. “The process includes market research, product development, financial plans, marketing, pricing, the whole package. We help the students build toward that Shark Tank moment.”
The club is open to all George School students. Working in teams of three to six, students will work on developing their ideas into actual products or services. Teams will work with an MIT mentor specialized in their area. “If the idea is developing an app, then the mentor might be a computer programmer or someone with expert knowledge in that area,” says Katherine. “Mentors will meet with the groups once a month over Skype, FaceTime, or even face-to-face, if that is possible. They will be the go-to person for any questions or marketing ideas.”
In April, all teams will pitch their final products to MIT through video. Finalists will have the chance to visit MIT and pitch their ideas in front of MIT professors and potential investors.