At the end of its first year, students in INCubator.Edu, the year-long entrepreneurship class which helped them take an idea for a product or service, through development and its business plan, are ready to make a pitch to investors, in a Shark Tank-style event.
It takes place Wednesday night, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in the Jeuck Auditorium. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Their prospective start-ups include an interactive app that provides in-store coupons, a charging device pad that will charge different platforms of phones or iPads, a sports bag that organizes equipment and valuables, as well as a therapeutic sleeve that provides a quicker recovery of sore muscles using electronic pulsations.
Mr. David Lyons says his students have exceeded all of his expectations, and that through the valuable contributions of mentors and coaches from the wider Saint Viator community, they have gone far beyond the traditional entrepreneurship class.
“Many students had no real business experience before this year,” Mr. Lyons said, “and now on the cusp of creating something that could possibly be their life’s work.”
While most schools now have some sort of entrepreneurship class that teaches the basics of how to write up a business plan, he doubts few go into as much detail as what the INCubator.Edu has given students, through its analysis of marketing, financial budgeting and future funding.
“These students will have a leg up when they enter into college business schools,” Mr. Lyons adds, “because this program has laid the foundation for them.”
Mr. Lyons formerly taught entrepreneurship at York High School in Elmhurst. He worked all year with John Aiello ’86, who reached out to the alumni base to serve as coaches and mentors.
“The best innovation ideas do not come from a desire to make money,” Aiello said at the outset, “but from a desire to solve a problem.”
Mr. Lyons adds that interest in the incubator is growing.
“As of right now,” he says, “we have a 75 percent increase in enrollment for next year. Our students and our mentors are definitely helping to grow the program in the future.”