Who We Are
Welcome to Project ECHO (Entrepreneurial Concepts Hand On), a non-profit organization established in 1996 to provide at-risk students with a dynamic alternative education to help them acquire useful vocational skills and entrepreneurship training and experience. Today, Project ECHO has expanded to a vibrant business academy and involves more than 500 students from diverse academic and socio-economic backgrounds.
The Project ECHO team is made up of a community of entrepreneurs, graduate students, community advocates and experienced educators who are passionate about transforming the lives of disadvantaged students. Our educators provide students with key skills to help them excel academically and function effectively in the global workplace, increase their chances at decent employment and achieve financial independence.
Project ECHO’s year-long program incorporates a variety of field trips to major universities, relevant trainings, mentorship support and involvement and a formal program that utilizes a hands-on (STEM-aligned) curriculum.
The program culminates with a business plan competition on campus at UCLA Anderson School of Management where student teams compete for cash prizes. Students complete our program with relevant skills in financial planning and analysis, written and oral presentations, social media, marketing, and have learned the technology to support these endeavors. Surveys demonstrate that on average 90% of the students are more interested in school after their participation in our program and about the same percentage want to continue to vocational school or college after they graduate from high school.
“Project ECHO gives students the opportunity to achieve business success while a teenager, and helps them to think beyond their enrollment in high school. It starts them thinking about the success they can achieve after high school and they’re fired up about their new goals in life and school. ECHO is the first activity our students list on college and job applications. This experience is truly life changing for our teens.” -Diane Quast, Executive Director