In their junior year, all students take part in our year-long social entrepreneurship incubator in partnership with the Center for Civic Innovation.
Students build upon the innovation, research, and project completion experience they gain in 9th and 10th grade, as they launch in-school organizations, and external, scalable businesses and nonprofits. By the end of the year, every student will have attempted to start (in some cases, several) businesses and honed their design thinking, prototyping, and testing skills as they become experts in lean-startup methodology.
Inspiration and Self-Awareness
Students go through “strengthfinders” exercises, leadership, team-building, and values workshops as they start to explore their own potential roles in the innovation process. Every week we leave school for workshops, Q&A sessions, pitch events, and meet-ups at co-working spaces, startups, growth companies, nonprofits, venture capital firms, and other leading key players in Atlanta’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Students spend time in deep conversation with entrepreneurs leading companies at various stages of growth and across sectors, and later on in the year, mentorship. As TNS students launch their own enterprises, they will be paired with mentors from related industries and the investment world.
Problem & Customer Discovery
Part of the first semester allows the students to learn by doing in a safe environment as they develop their very own student organizations and in-school businesses. Through investigation and research into their own immediate environment, our students will design and test their own in-school initiatives.
Through design thinking workshops, market research with surveys, focus groups, and analysis of other student organizations, students will prototype and launch their own initiatives. Students then take these experiences and lessons outside of the walls of The New School into the city and beyond.
Impact and Scaling Up
Through the project series, TNS-X, inspiration phase of the entrepreneurship program, and their own curiosity, our students will be exposed to problems and opportunities outside of our immediate school ecosystem. The majority of the program is devoted to looking at ways to improve people’s lives, build better communities and reduce our impact on the environment. Through inspiration, discovery, and testing, our students will launch their own impactful ventures.
While the focus of the program is on learning by doing – TNS students will be actually working to grow their own enterprises, not just learning to craft a pitch or a plan – students will also engage in extensive reflection and peer review sessions, and will learn from expert coaches in accounting, law, finance, economics, marketing and sales, and more. In some ways this is a mini MBA for high school students, through the lens of entrepreneurship.