Since 1996, Project ECHO has engaged thousands of students in an exciting activity based program in entrepreneurship. While there are many goals of our program, our primary effort is to re-engage upper class high school students who may be at risk of not completing high school on-time or at all. Through our hands on curriculum, students immediately are drawn in to an exciting adventure of using their hobbies, dreams and goals to ideate, create and develop a new business from the ground up.
Students complete the program through their participation in our annual High School Entrepreneurs’ Business Plan Competition where students, educators and the community come together to support these amazing students and their fantastic business ideas. We continue to research and develop our curriculum while making program improvements, but year after year, we hear from students and teachers that Project ECHO is an amazing experience that re-engages students and helps them identify personal and academic goals beyond their high school years.
Facts & Figures
On competition day, Project ECHO students are asked to take a survey regarding their involvement in the Project ECHO program. 92% of students agreed that our program has helped increase their understanding of business fundamentals.
Further, through the curriculum and competition, students gain valuable skills in business, presentation and teamwork. In fact, students agree that participating in Project ECHO makes them more confident about the following:
Since implementing the business plan competition in the 2004-2005 school year, Project ECHO has seen steady growth in school and mentor participation. Project ECHO added the mentorship component of the competition in its 3rd year (2006-2007 school year). The continued interest and growth of Project ECHO’s business plan competition is testament to Project ECHO’s continued success.
What People Say
Project ECHO High School Students regarding the program…
“I enjoyed working on a business plan and getting an overall feel for business in general.”
“…I had the opportunity to gain a real-world understanding of business …and I gained entrepreneurial skills as well.”
“It was an opportunity of a lifetime and made me interested in continuing as a business owner.”
“I liked every aspect of the process, but working with my team has helped me develop tools that cannot be learned from reading a textbook or writing a plan.
Project ECHO High School Students regarding the mentors…
“They were very supportive and amazing. They helped us tons with the business description and to calm our nerves down at the presentation. They were outstanding and extremely helpful.”
“Our mentor was engaging and made me think…”
“…they became unforgettable friends.”
Project ECHO Mentors regarding the program/students…
“Seeing the kids present was a mind-blowing experience, especially given that it is something they are passionate about and have built from the ground up.”
“I liked being able to make an impact on the student’s lives–I felt I was able to give them skills and teach them to do things they will use for the rest of their lives.”
“I enjoy working with students and helping them with new concepts that they are not familiar with or taught in regular school.”
Project ECHO Teachers regarding the program…
“Real world experience and the chance to compete”
“The competition make[s] the students rise to new levels…mentors give professional feedback from someone more youthful, not a parent or teacher”
…and with respect to other programs…
“ECHO is strictly a business plan competition for real viable businesses, unlike VE with a virtual economy and SAGE with social and other concerns weighing heavier. This is a fantastic addition and very worthwhile. You are great!”