Launch: Teaching High School Students How to Start Companies

Posted by jcashman

We are consultants.  We help businesses grow, and love doing it.  But we didn’t know what consulting—or, really, business—really meant, until well past high school.

Each of us grew up, like many of us, with a narrow view of potential career paths: Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher, Policeman, Artist, and Business Man – this image of the person in a suit carrying a briefcase as he walked to his corner office.  Entrepreneurship was an even more foreign concept, and, still is for many high school students today.  In fact, according to a study published by INC magazine, 90% of high school teachers say their students are interested in becoming entrepreneurs, but 75% admit, “My students don’t know where to start to become an entrepreneur.”

We want to show them where to start.  We think the world needs more entrepreneurs, and that students should be exposed to this career path earlier in life.High school students have enormous potential and, with the right training and resources, can and will start successful companies.

Unfortunately, the traditional high school curriculum is not set up to deliver the business skills and self-starter toolkit to drive such entrepreneurial growth,, so we decided to go around it.  We are creating an educational program completely outside of the traditional school system: Launch, a competitive summer program to help high potential high school students start companies.

Launch will accept 30-40 rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors for the first 4-week program in summer 2013.  We plan to host successful entrepreneurs, Ivy League professors, and Harvard Business School MBAs to teach business and leadership skills aimed at developing a new age of entrepreneurs.  Our teachers will help students create actual business plans that will allow students to start their companies with the help of real investors, who will provide funding to many of the companies at the conclusion of the program.

Business education may not be prevalent in high schools today, but we imagine a future where business is a sought-after and viable career path for students of any age.  Launch is one step we’re taking to create that future.

For more information on Launch, visit, or contact [email protected].

Co-founders Mary Winn Miller and Laurie Stach are both MBA graduates of Harvard Business School.  Mary Winn is a consultant at McKinsey & Company; Laurie is a consultant at Boston Consulting Group.  They jointly lead Launch, a summer program to teach entrepreneurship to high school students. Applications for Launch’s 2013 summer program for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be available starting October 15, 2012.


by Mary Winn Miller and Laurie Stach


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Posted by jcashman on Oct 24 2012. Filed under Featured - For home page featured article, Opinion, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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