Home NEISD Reagan High to launch business incubator

Reagan High to launch business incubator

Program includes ’Shark Tank’-style pitch session with investors

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A business-incubator program is being launched next academic year at Reagan High School under the direction of Danya Martin (inset), business and technology teacher. The program will teach students how to create a service or product. Courtesy photo

Beginning next school year, Reagan High School students will get a hands-on lesson in building a business from the ground up.

The Reagan Business INCubator course will also include mentorships from real-world pros and pitches to business investors in a “Shark Tank”-style format.

“We have students that are eager to explore entrepreneurship and business, and the opportunity to have such an authentic program at Reagan was very appealing,” said business and technology teacher Danya Martin.

The program at the Stone Oak campus will allow students to spend the academic term working in teams and learning about taking a practical business plan from concept to reality.

Students who complete the program will have learned how to develop a viable business idea, whether it’s a service or a product, Martin said.

Those pupils will get a jump on developing skills in marketing, accounting, legal and other aspects of launching and running a startup.

Reagan’s program was inspired by a similar one at Alamo Heights High School, she added.

The Reagan business incubator will be based on curriculum created by Uncharted Learning, a nonprofit providing collaborative learning opportunities and experience to all grade-school students.

“The Reagan Business INCubator course lets students come up with ideas to solve real-world problems,” Martin said. “Over the course of the year, teams of students will develop business plans and learn about marketing, product design and the financial aspects of the project.”

Area business owners and mentors will volunteer their time to the young entrepreneurs.

The idea is to provide students with professional development that will help guide them in their efforts to create a business, as well as learning how their lessons can be applied in the real world.

“This program will bring business and community partners in to work with students on their unique business models as coaches and team mentors,” Martin said. “Coaches will be content experts able to share their knowledge on specific topics, while mentors will be connected to a team of students and will work with that team throughout the year.”

Community members interested in volunteering to help the high schoolers can apply by visiting http://reaganinc.neisdstore.net.

“We are currently wrapping up the student recruitment and will begin recruiting volunteers to serve as coaches or mentors, as well as a board of advisers, and a community champion for the 2020-21 school year,” Martin said.

“We are also needing financial sponsorships to be able to provide our student teams with the financial resources to create their business idea,” she added.

Toward the end of the school year, the learners will pitch their product and business plan to actual investors, similar to the popular TV show “Shark Tank,” and demonstrate the viability of their idea.

In the show, entrepreneurs seek funding and partnership from a panel of business titans.

“Pitch Week helps to further fire the entrepreneurial spirit by putting student teams in front of a board of advisers so they can pitch their innovative idea to win funding and turn their wishful thinking into a reality,” Martin said.

For details, email dmarti3@neisd.net.

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