High School Students to Business Owners: The New Incubator Experience at American Heritage Schools
High School Students to Business Owners: The New Incubator Experience at American Heritage Schools
 
In an ever-changing world, education must adapt to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities they will face in their future careers. At American Heritage Schools, we are excited to offer an innovative new course that empowers high school students to explore entrepreneurship, critical thinking, and real-world business challenges. Introducing the Business Incubator & AP Seminar class, a unique opportunity for 11th graders to embark on a journey of discovery and creativity.
 
The Business Incubator & AP Seminar course presents an exciting and inclusive opportunity for a diverse range of students. Open to 11th graders enrolled in any of the 4-year Pre-Law, Pre-Engineering, Pre-Medical, Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Business & Entrepreneurship, and Science Research programs, this elective course aims to foster collaboration and innovation among students from various academic backgrounds. 

The program invites those exceptional students to come together, bringing their unique perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table. By collaborating, they have the chance to create new companies with creative solutions and embark on the exciting journey of entrepreneurship, potentially securing funding in a manner similar to the popular show, Shark Tank. At its core, the Business Incubator class is dedicated to cultivating and shaping the great ideas students might have, guiding them toward the process of bringing a business idea to life and bridging the gap between academia and real-world success.

What does the Business Incubator & AP Seminar include?
 
The business side of the class focuses on ideation, invention/research, and validation of the product idea; business planning; operationalizing the product idea; creation of financials; pitching/fundraising; marketing; and sales. The AP part of the class prepares students for the AP Seminar exam through steady research and analysis and cross-curricular conversations that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics and issues by analyzing divergent perspectives.
 
The Business Incubator & AP Seminar course at American Heritage Schools offers several exciting highlights that enhance students’ educational experience:
 
1. Building Real Companies: Students have the unique opportunity to form teams and create their own companies. This hands-on experience is invaluable for understanding the complexities of running a real business.
 
2. Harvard Business Review Curriculum: The curriculum draws inspiration from the renowned Harvard Business Review, incorporating real-life case studies to teach students how to build, grow, and manage successful businesses.
 
3. Expert Guidance: Throughout the course, students have the chance to learn from guest speakers and mentors who have real-world experience in various areas, including non-profit and for-profit ventures.
 
4. Preparation for the Future: The course doesn't just stop at entrepreneurship. It also prepares students for the AP Seminar exam by fostering critical thinking and analyzing divergent perspectives on academic and real-world topics, while earning AP credits.
 
Experienced Instructors
 
The course is co-taught by two experienced educators, Mr. Jonathan Fichman, Business & Entrepreneurship Teacher, and Dr. Kim Kimpton, Ed.D and College Advisor. Mr. Fichman leads the Business Incubator section, while Dr. Kimpton guides the AP Seminar curriculum.
 
Mr. Fichman is a current Business Instructor at FIU. He holds an undergraduate degree from George Washington University and attended the University of Miami to complete an MBA.
 
Dr. Kimpton has been teaching at American Heritage Schools for over 20 years, as Co-Chair of the English Department, and currently as a College Advisor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Buffalo, a Master’s in Education from USF, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership.
 
Teamwork and Innovation
 
Teamwork is a key component of this course. Because “great things in business are never done by one person” (Steve Jobs), teams are established to create the companies. Students will form teams of up to five members, in which they will collaborate, brainstorm ideas, and solve real-world problems. No prior business idea is needed to start; this course is about nurturing creativity and innovation.
 
Currently, there are 58 enthusiastic students enrolled, organized into 12 teams, ready to embark on their entrepreneurial journeys. To support their innovative endeavors, students enjoy access to a wide array of school resources, including the cutting-edge technology of a 3D printer. This inaugural class marks the beginning of a promising journey. It is an elective class open to juniors who are in good academic standing and are affiliated with either the Pre-Professional or Science Research programs, ensuring a cohort of motivated and forward-thinking students.
 
Panel of Judges and Financial Support
 
At the culmination of the course, students will have the opportunity to pitch their companies to a panel of judges. The most promising ventures may receive financial support from American Heritage Schools as well as outside investors, like the famous TV show, Shark Tank, where entrepreneurs have the chance to secure business deals, turning their dreams into reality.
 
We are thrilled to offer this exciting course that encourages innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. The Business Incubator & AP Seminar course is about preparing students for the world they will shape. In an era where adaptability and creativity are paramount, we invite our students to take their first steps toward a future filled with endless possibilities. Stay tuned for more about this journey of discovery and transformation, as our students explore the world of entrepreneurship.