Our ProgramsBusiness Boot Camps, Business Academy & Business Plan Competitions
Welcome to Project ECHO’s High School Entrepreneurs’ Program
Project ECHO provides an invigorating environment for high school students to learn about entrepreneurship through a year-long program that combines business fundamentals, mentoring, college field trips and activity-based learning. It’s successful because of our collaborative approach to working with high schools and their teachers allows them to take the lead and teach the program to their students in their classrooms. It’s the perfect add-on to an existing class where the teacher would like to incorporate activity-based learning with an awesome capstone project. Project ECHO is proud to offer the academic portion of the program free to schools and their students, though there are registration fees to attend the events. Generous early bird discounts are offered!
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We begin each academic year by partnering with school administrators and teachers to offer students a comprehensive model in entrepreneurship, from ideation to pitch. Each program year is launched at our High School Entrepreneurs’ Business Boot Camps , which are hosted at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Students come together and start to learn some fundamentals about creating a business and start to brainstorm and ideate their own business ideas. Students from the same high school will work together throughout the events and may even start to form their business teams. There are two Boot Camps that generally take place in October and November, which covers the topics of ideation, marketing, finance, and pitch. UCLA MBA candidates serve as program mentors throughout the events and into the classroom to assist the students.
Teachers will generally begin teaching the classroom portion of the program, which is based on California Common Core State Standards (CCSS), in January. This curriculum teaches students important skills in research, mathematics, economics, business, communications, and teamwork all while learning how to create, develop and pitch a new business. Project ECHO is intended to be an add-on activity within an existing class, and will generally take one hour of classroom instruction per week, over a 10-week period, while students will have about one to three hours of homework per week. The curriculum is a perfect way to incorporate Linked-Learning into a grade level academic calendar. Throughout the semester, students work in teams to create a business idea, research the market, and write a business plan with the support of their high school teachers and MBA student mentors from UCLA, Pepperdine, and Loyola Marymount University’s business schools.
The program culminates in the spring with a formal business plan competition. Student teams from dozens of schools across Southern California join us at UCLA Anderson School of Management to compete on stage in front of hundreds of guests, teachers, peers and judges. Executive level volunteer judges are recruited to evaluate team presentations that pitch the most unique business idea supported by a comprehensive business plan inclusive of a marketing plan, financial analysis, research and development. Start-up funds are awarded to the winning teams.
High School Entrepreneurs’
2017-2018 Event Dates:
High School Entrepreneurs Business Boot Camp #1: Friday, October 20, 2017
Introduction to Ideation: Coming up with Solution-Based and Innovative Ideas
Introduction to Marketing: An Action Plan for Success
High School Entrepreneurs Business Boot Camp #2: Friday, Dec. 1, 2017
The Bottom Line of Business Finance: An introduction to Business Finance
Nervous About Presenting? An Introduction to Public Speaking
The Elevator-Pitch Contest
High School Entrepreneurs Mega Mentor Day: Friday, March 16, 2018
Bring your plan and your pitch and work with a mentor to gain final feedback and presentation practice before the competition!
High School Entrepreneurs Finals Business Plan Competition: Sunday, April 8, 2018
High School Entrepreneur's Business Boot CampsIntroducing Students to Project ECHO & Entrepreneurship
Project ECHO’s High School Entrepreneurs Business Boot Camps launch the program year in the Fall. Taught by entrepreneurs, business executives and industry leaders, the Boot Camps are an integral part of the ECHO program and serves as a starting point for students to initiate their business ideas and supports the formal Entrepreneurial curriculum taught in the Spring. There are two Boot Camps and session one covers ideation and marketing and session two covers finance and pitch. Throughout the morning-long events, MBA candidates from UCLA help facilitate small group discussions among the teens and provide mentorship to help students complete preliminary exercises. The goal of Boot Camp is to help students from the same high school form initial business teams, commit to a business idea, and introduce students to initial business concepts.
Teacher Boot Camp
As new schools enroll in Project ECHO, our Teacher Boot Camp offers new teachers and school administrators the opportunity to learn about the program and the formal entrepreneurship curriculum. Taught by experienced ECHO teachers who have risen to master teacher status, the Teacher Boot Camp breaks down the curriculum by chapter, and offers best practices in teaching the curriculum. It’s an open forum for teachers to share their experiences, get great ideas from each other and network while their students are attending the Entrepreneurs’ Boot Camp.
ECHOnomics: Seminar Series in Entrepreneurial Strategies and Personal Development
Immediately following each of the Boot Camps, students and teachers may register to attend the ECHOnomics seminar. ECHOnomics aims to provide students the opportunity to continue their exploration into entrepreneurship, business and self-discovery. Breakout sessions will span from ideation, marketing, finance, technology, public speaking, as well as more general professional skills, such as networking, personal branding, developing LinkedIn profiles, writing a first resume, interviewing techniques, and more!
High School Entrepreneur's Business AcademyA Semester-Long Experience That Changes Academic Paths
Activity-Based Entrepreneurship Program Coupled with a Curriculum
Project ECHO’s High School Entrepreneur’s Business Academy is a semester long class that combines hands on activities coupled with a formal curriculum to help students learn the fundamentals of creating a business. ECHO gives each school the latitude to implement the program anyway it chooses; from a formal class to an after school club, there is no right or wrong way to teach the program.
The formal curriculum teaches:
- Introduction to business plans
- Ideation and creating a business description
- Completing an industry and market analysis
- Developing a marketing plan
- Constructing an operations plan
- Identifying the management team and creating an organizational structure complete with titles and reporting relationships
- Creating a financial and funding plan, which also includes learning about financial reporting and how to read financial statements.
- Excel, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint
The informal curriculum teaches:
- Team work
- Interpersonal communication
- Business etiquette
- How to network in social settings
- Dress for success
- Time management
This interactive program is designed to introduce teens to relevant business school fields of study. It’s intended to help prepare students to graduate from high school motivated to enter a two- or four-year college or university, vocational training or an apprenticeship.
Graduate School Mentors Sets ECHO Apart from Other Programs
Project ECHO utilizes our long-standing relationships with prestigious business and law schools in Southern California to provide high school students the best mentorship available. MBA and JD mentors travel to schools and/or Skype with teachers and their students on a weekly basis. This effort is to provide the high school students one-on-one guidance, support and peer-like tutoring. Research has identified that most of our high school students live in single parent homes, or in homes where both parents work varied work schedules including evening and weekend shifts. MBA mentors offer personal, career and technical support that may be absent or unavailable in their homes.
The High School Entrepreneur’s Business Plan Competition
The program culminates in the spring with a formal business plan competition that considers both the written business plan along with the oral presentation. The event day competition is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. The judges function as venture capital investors deciding on which business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentation, all influence the judges’ decisions. Ultimately, the winning teams are selected based on where the judges would most likely invest their money.
The Categories of Competition for the 2017 Competition are:
Technology Business: TBs are brand new businesses where the end product is an outcome that is technology based and bought. This business is web based and only sells products via its website and does not have a physical retail location.
Retail Business: RBs sell goods and services from a location. While RBs may have a website or an app to support its marketing, primary revenue is generated via sales at a specific location.
Food/Beverage Based Businesses: FB’s are simply just that, food or beverage related. This category has become popular with our teens and warranted its own category of competition.
The High School Entrepreneur's Business Plan CompetitionEvery Team Wins - But a Few Walk Away With Start-Up Funds
WaterWise WINS THE 2016 HIGH SCHOOL ENTREPRENEUR’S BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION!
Congratulations to WaterWise, a team of 9th graders from Long Beach Polytechnic High School-PACE Academy for winning the 12th Annual High School Entrepreneur’s Business Plan Competition. Water Wise’s combined scores from their written business plan and their presentation score ranked the highest out of 110 teams competing. They walked away with $1,000 cash start-up funds, a lovely trophy and bragging rights for the year!
FIL WINS THE 2015 HIGH SCHOOL ENTREPRENEUR’S BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION!
Congratulations to Team Fil from Banning High, who were announced as the 2015 Overall Competition Winners at the High School Entrepreneur’s Business Plan Competition. This annual event that took place at UCLA Anderson School of Management received competition submissions from more than 100 teams and 500 students. Team Fil’s combined scores from their written business plan and their presentation score ranked the highest at the end of the competition awarding them $1,000 cash, a beautiful trophy and they’ll be featured on Business Rock Stars, a nationally syndicated radio program. Project ECHO is extremely proud of this amazing team of seniors. Congratulations!
GIFTSWAP WINS THE 2014 HIGH SCHOOL ENTREPRENEUR’S BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION!
Team GIFTSWAP from Long Beach Polytechnic High School was awarded the Overall Competition Winner at the 2014 competition and walked away with a $1,000 check. This winning team received the highest score at the end of the competition which evaluated both a written business plan and an oral presentation that utilized a visual presentation to support their remarks.
Check out their full pitch and presentation by clicking on their photo to the left!
Team RIPPED Wins the 2013 High School Entrepreneur’s Business Plan Competition!
Project ECHO awarded RIPPED the Overall Competition Winners at the 2013 High School Entrepreneur’s Business Plan Competition. This team’s written business plan combined with a stellar presentation scored them the highest marks by the end of the competition. For their hard work, RIPPED walked away with a $1,000 check. The RIPPED team are comprised of 9th graders attending Long Beach Polytechnic High School.
Watch their winning pitch by clicking their photo to the left.