Entrepreneurship Academy offers path to college, business ownership

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  • In Desgin Thinking Studios located at the Danforth Campus, Entrepreneurship Academy students can brainstorm their business ideas in a space designed to foster creativity and creative problem solving.
    In Desgin Thinking Studios located at the Danforth Campus, Entrepreneurship Academy students can brainstorm their business ideas in a space designed to foster creativity and creative problem solving.
  • Inspired by Stanford University’s hub for innovation, the Francis Tuttle d.school provides a space for students to collaborate, meet with mentors and business professionals, develop new ideas and test out business proposals with the help and support of their peers.
    Inspired by Stanford University’s hub for innovation, the Francis Tuttle d.school provides a space for students to collaborate, meet with mentors and business professionals, develop new ideas and test out business proposals with the help and support of their peers.
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Francis Tuttle Technology Center is launching a new Entrepreneurship Academy program that will be a central focus of the new Danforth Campus.

Recruitment for the new academy is already underway. It will join the three current academies at Francis Tuttle that are open to high school sophomores through seniors – Biosciences and Medicine, Computer Science, and Engineering. All four will be located at the new Danforth Campus at 3841 E. Danforth Road in Edmond, which opens in August 2021.

“It’s the first of its kind, definitely, in the state,” Khaaliq Salim, director of the new Danforth Campus, said. “I think this is the start of something really incredible. We’ve been at the cusp of this and didn’t have a framework in place. We’re going to help them along the way and give them the tools they need.”

The new Entrepreneurship Academy, in practice, is no different than the three current academies in the sense that students will still learn by doing. College prep and advanced placement classes in math and science are taught alongside the central focus of developing an idea and building your own business. Students will experience the entrepreneurial process firsthand and spend class days collaborating with others to find new solutions and continuously develop their innovative ideas.

The curriculum, developed in collaboration with INCubatoredu, is specifically designed to teach students by having them build their own business. A key aspect of the curriculum is that failure is considered an acceptable outcome in order that the students learn and then make improvements.

“In school today, students are so patterned around getting A’s and not failing that it really does them a disservice,” Dr. Jaared Scott, associate superintendent at Francis Tuttle, said. “Failure truly is the backdoor to success. Rather than us have them avoid failure, we want them to embrace it, we want them to understand that it’s the most important part of the learning process, and we don’t want them to be devastated by failure. That’s just the next step in the evolution of finding the right solution.

Entrepreneurship Academy students will use the spaces and resources available at the Danforth Campus, such as Design Thinking Studios, a Product Realization Lab and the Francis Tuttle d.school to ideate, create, refine and present their business ideas. Through this process, those ideas could then grow into actual small businesses right out of the Danforth Campus.

“Entrepreneurship itself is a growing industry,” Salim said. “Whatever idea students come up with, they will be mentored, advised and at some point, they will present their idea in the form of a capstone project. You can have it all; go to college and explore your business idea.”