CHICAGO (CBS) — Summer is a time for many teens to relax, but five groups of Barrington High School students are busier than ever, after finding success in a business incubator class – the first course of its kind in the nation.
CBS 2’s Kris Gutierrez caught up with the budding student-CEO’s shortly after they pitched their business plans to investors, and the outcome has made their teacher very proud.
“When the kids were all presenting to their board of directors, there were times that when you hear the kids talking the business, with business acumen like they were showing, I was getting goosebumps,” said Hagop Soulakian, a former Chicago Mercantile Exchange trader.
Collectively, his students have secured $80,000 in funding for their business ideas. It has given them confidence for the future.
“I never thought that I would be, like, an entrepreneur. I didn’t think I’d have that type of ability to start something from the ground up,” Naomi Evers said.
They’re part of a class that challenges students to launch a company, and find funding, so their products and services can eventually become a reality.
“The key to this classroom is you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone. You can’t be alone in your room and expect to have a successful business,” Soulakian said.
William Ladis and his classmates have been looking to market “warrior wipes” at local sporting goods stores. The idea is to get anti-bacterial wipes, usually found in medical facilities, into locker rooms for athletes to clean their equipment.
“I thought that this would be a really good way to get real world experience,” Ladis said.
The class is a lot more than just learning about business, it’s about growing up as an individual and a leader.
“I knew I wanted to go into the business field, but now I know what I want to do is is start a business, which is what we’re doing right now,” Sanjit Narendra said.
Narendra is part of the business called “Find My Bus,” which is an app that allows both students and parents to track their school buses during their routes. They were awarded $25,000 in investments.
The course has been such a success that several other districts across the nation are starting their own versions of the class beginning this fall.