The Entrepreneur Academy, a non-profit organization, is accepting applications for its high school entrepreneurship program that starts on Feb. 26. The organization is hosting a luncheon kick-off event on Feb. 12 that is open to the public with an RSVP (see information below).
It all started in 2011, when the South Coast Chapter of the nonprofit TiE (The Indus Entrepreneur) began supporting and sponsoring TYE (TiE Young Entrepreneurs). TiE is a global organization started in Silicon Valley 30 years ago. The TYE program teaches high school students about business and entrepreneurship with instruction by college professors and mentorship by successful entrepreneurs. The students form 4-person teams and come up with an idea for a business that they develop and pitch before local entrepreneurs who serve as judges. The winning team moves on to pitch at a global competition.
“This program is basically to teach high school kids about entrepreneurship,” said Sandeep Varma, chairman of The Entrepreneur Academy and an entrepreneur himself as president of ATS Wealth Management. “They work together with mentors to develop their idea and put together a pitch. They pitch it to the judges ‘Shark Tank’ style.”
Varma added that “San Diego’s time has come” to be recognized as a hub of entrepreneurship, similar to Silicon Valley. “We have so much potential here. We’re a hub for bio-tech and telecommunications among other industries, and we have lots of start-up companies and entrepreneurs that our young people can learn from.” he added.
The program is designed to add an extra dimension to the education that children get in the classroom. “It’s one thing for kids to get good grades and get a job,” Varma said. “But it’s another to teach them that you can start your own company. And once you start to think like an entrepreneur, it changes the course of your future.”
Students have embraced the opportunity to add the program to their busy schedules, between sports and other activities and clubs because it’s fun, and they can see how it can help them in the future, starting with their college applications.
The first day is scheduled for the last Saturday of February.
“We’re hoping that we can do it in person at UCSD, as we have in the past” Varma said. “If not, we’ll have to look at alternatives.”
For the Feb. 12 luncheon event, organizers are asking participants to RSVP on the nonprofit’s website: theentrepreneuracademy.org.
“During the luncheon our local program will be receiving an award from TiE Global for our efforts in the TYE program,” Varma said. “So, there are some bigwigs coming down from the TiE Global headquarters in Silicon Valley to acknowledge our chapter for the work that we’re doing.”
Varma said he wants to put together a special reward for students who will be taking part in the program.
“I would like to charter a plane,” he said, “and I’d like to fly the kids up to the Bay Area for a day trip to have a private tour of the Apple “spaceship” building, Google, Tesla, and Facebook.
“I am trying to line up that trip. I think it would be a life-altering event. We’ve never done that before. I think we can do it.”
The Entrepreneur Academy is located at 5435 Oberlin Drive, Suite 112, in San Diego. To RSVP for the luncheon information event on Feb. 12, visit theentrepreneuracademy.org.
For more information, call The Entrepreneur Academy Executive Director Dana Losbog at 650-776-2368 or visit theentrepreneuracademy.org.
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