Students from Los Angeles Unified’s Linked Learning summer bridge programs on July 22 participated in a project that allowed them to present their business start-up pitch to a panel of judges at Los Angeles Community College.
Students at Gardena High School, Los Angeles Academy Middle School, Sutter Middle School, Daniel Webster Middle School and Venice High School were enrolled in the Teen Innovation and Entrepreneurial Summer program, hosted by Project ECHO.
During the two-week summer bridge program, students identified a problem and developed a product or service as the solution. In teams, they discussed the advantages of their business, researched competitors, designed logos and product branding, worked together to develop a presentation and pitch deck, and learned about target markets, price points and profit margins.
Executives from the business community volunteered to serve as judges and listen to the business presentations. The quality of the idea, in addition to the research and development the students put into their start-up, were all be considered to help determine the winning teams. More than 10 teams were awarded first and second place medals, but every student will received a Project ECHO Certificate of Accomplishment that they can include in their college application portfolios.
“Our summer bridge programs are designed for students to become acquainted with their new school, teachers and pathways and to cultivate leadership and collaborative skills,” LAUSD administrator of CTE-linked learning Esther Soliman said. “Our partnership with Project ECHO allows us to take our bridge programs to a whole new level by offering an outstanding project-based curriculum that challenges students with this exciting competition.”
“While these businesses remain fictitious, the students quickly engage in this project-based program where a lot of learning occurs through teamwork and hands-on activities,” Project ECHO executive director Diane Quast said. “The students truly demonstrate perseverance and creativity during this program.”
Linked Learning summer bridge programs are designed to welcome students into their new school and provide them with an opportunity to learn through real-world, project-based learning, working with teachers and industry professionals. Juniors and seniors mentor the students and teach them about the culture of the school and the school’s expectations for them.
Project ECHO, is a non-profit organization that was established in 1996 and empowers students with entrepreneurial and leadership skills so that they can thrive in college, their careers and in their community as change-makers.
For information, visit projectecho.org.
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