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    Louisville Collegiate School, a private school with a public purpose, will launch a community startup weekend next fall explicitly geared for public, private and parochial students in the greater Louisville community, thanks to a grant by the Edward E. Ford Foundation (E. E. Ford Foundation). Creating an annual program that introduces, develops and refines the skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century as problem solvers and innovators is the goal of the grant’s student workshop component. The start-up competition will serve as a first step in preparing students to apply to other existing community competitions, including the Governor's School for Entrepreneurs.

    The grant will also fund a free Summer 2019 annual professional development seminar to train teachers in the region on how to launch, implement and sustain a successful entrepreneurial program at the high school level. Both events will be held on Collegiate’s campus in the Areva Center for Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Design (CEED). The CEED houses Collegiate’s makerspace, the Makery, and Design Studio where students in the community will have access to a CNC Milling Station, 3D Printers, a Vinyl Cutter, Laser Cutter, woodworking tools and design software.

    Collegiate launched a formal entrepreneurial program in 2014, and the high school requires all students to take an entrepreneurship course as part of graduation requirements through the Co-Edge co-curriculum program. “Collegiate’s entrepreneurship program gives students the creative freedom to think ambitiously,” says Tracie Catlett, Associate Head of School. “Entrepreneurial education requires our students to translate problems into opportunities, research the current market, engage in risk-taking and build interpersonal communication skills.” She added, “Making a pitch to a CEO in a company boardroom feels relevant to our students. The students are intrinsically motivated to do their best because they know that their final work has the potential to impact a local business or nonprofit in our community. We are not expecting our students to graduate as entrepreneurs — our intentionally designed program was created to teach students to think like entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial thinking requires our students to apply empathy, take risks, think strategically, pivot and communicate with adults in the community.”

    Collegiate students presenting at Phocus as part of the entrepreneurial program.

    Students at Collegiate have worked with a variety of local companies and organizations over the last few years including Safai Coffee, Comfy Cow, Phocus, MobileServe, Highland Cleaners, General Electric Appliances, Edj Analytics, Louisville Mini Maker Faire, Wehr Constructors and more.

    After a thorough interview, application process and site visit, the E. E. Ford Foundation saw the potential presented in Collegiate’s robust Entrepreneurial curriculum and challenged Collegiate to raise a matching $90,000 from the community. Through the generosity of local donors and friends, Collegiate exceeded this goal with donations totaling more than $90,000 to fulfill the match requirement. The grant will advance the growth of entrepreneurial culture in Kentuckiana and will kick-off this summer with a free professional development opportunity for teachers in the region.

    Collegiate, founded in 1915, is a co-ed day school enrolling students in junior kindergarten through twelfth grade. To find out more about the program, visit Collegiate to set up a tour or shadow experience this winter. Call (502) 479-0378 for more information.

    Photos courtesy of Louisville Collegiate School.

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