Incubator: The Road To Becoming A True Entrepreneur

The+new+incubator+room+at+RLHS+boasts+tons+of+new+technology%2C+as+well+as+spaces+that+makes+communication+between+students+easier.+

The new incubator room at RLHS boasts tons of new technology, as well as spaces that makes communication between students easier.

Paola Morales, Staff Writer

Most students of Round Lake High School are unaware of what the brand new incubator class is about or why it is at the high school. Little do they know it is a very different and interesting class.

One of the most noticeable additions to Round Lake High School’s reconstruction, was the Business Incubator. The room, framed by floor-to-ceiling with windows, has a ton of technology and tools needed to keep students successful.  RLHS administrators decided to add a new and very unique class this year as part of the list of electives offered. In a complete student-centered class, students are challenged to use their minds and skills in a different way and create a product or service that will benefit consumers and in turn, teach the students about the business world, including strategies to come up with a worthwhile product and business plan.  As a matter of fact, coaches and mentors come in from major corporations, to teach students about entrepreneurship. The class goes beyond teaching students about entrepreneurship, but they are also trying to inform others about it through a vlog on YouTube called [email protected], in which they are documenting the entrepreneurial journey of the class and students.

The incubator class’s purpose is not about students coming up with a gimmicky get-rich-quick strategy, but to help them create a product that has social impact. For instance, students are currently brainstorming ways to make people’s lives easier and more fulfilling. Through this activity, they are learning that days of having to have connections and millions of dollars to start a business are over. “Especially this generation, growing up with all those inventions and most of society being so acclimated to all these great inventions, life has become what we think is easy,” said Jay Iden, the Business Incubator teacher at RLHS. “But people are realizing that it’s really not.”

The first ever Business Incubator class took off in Barrington High School, with the intention of preparing students to become entrepreneurs and develop skills that are crucial for students’ future, such as learning about marketing, accounting, human resources, and as well as the legal aspects of running a business.

The student-centered class benefits the students in a way that will help them with their future. Because it is so different from a typical textbook- and white board-based class, students become more invested. In fact, Iden has seen an increase in student engagement, accountability,  and attendance. He said it creates a more enjoyable real world experience. “The transformation from literally all of my students is staggering, and I’m really proud” said Iden.

When the Bureau of Labor asked business owners what their number-one challenge was, they said hiring employees that have the appropriate skill sets, that  includes  having a professional identity, which can only be obtained with experience in a work-like environment. This class helps students create their professional identity and develop more skills needed for the future.  “This model is what all classes are going to look like in twenty years, said Iden. “I have freshman through seniors in this class. What we have here is a nice size of students to start developing their professional identity in their lives,” he added.  “So when they go to interviews after a successful college experience, it will be very evident that they have experienced in a professional identity”. Everything has been invented, so students in this class would have an easier time in the future because they started developing their professional identity earlier and are more aware of how the creative economy works.

Students who are in the Incubator class have also noticed all the benefits of taking the class and how their skills have improved in different aspects. “This class will help me greatly in the future because as of the present, the advice and knowledge I am literally being fed, gives me a big head start into the business world,” said Gabriel Soto, a junior at RLHS. “It also helps me by catching mistakes that I make now, rather than becoming prone to them.”

Students think this class is completely unique and different. “This class is very different from all my other classes because Mr.Iden treats us like employees, not students,” said Jesus Guevara, a sophomore at RLHS. “At times this class can be difficult with so many assignments to do in a very short amount of time, but I still enjoy it,” he added.

In all, the Incubator is a very unique course that brings many benefits to students. This class Improves skills and helps students’ future by giving them insight in business, and entrepreneurship, but also experiencing what it is like. Everything students learn in this class will go with them beyond high school. “I want my students to become people that continually keep embracing challenges and go after them to be successful, because those are the most successful people,” said Iden.