Entrepreneurial thinking: At Rowan academy, high schoolers offer up big business ideas to address environmental issues

Entrepreneurial thinking: At Rowan academy, high schoolers offer up big business ideas to address environmental issues

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Young entrepreneurs took on the tough topic of prototyping business ventures to address global environmental issues during the third annual Think Like An Entrepreneur Summer Academy in the Rohrer College of Business.

Sixty high school students from throughout South Jersey learned what it takes to conceive, develop and prototype their businesses during the third annual Think Like An Entrepreneur Summer Academy this month at Rowan University.

Students completed the eight-day academy by developing and presenting their innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to address pressing global environmental issues. They worked in 12 teams to present their ideas for clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, climate action, and preserving life on land and on water to a distinguished panel of judges.

The wining team—SolStars—prototyped a solar-powered portable stove that could would provide an environmentally friendly cooking surface for people in Third World countries, people who lack electricity, and campers.

Other ideas from the students included, among others, a product to leverage bicycle motion to charge compact batteries to be inserted in a small power grid; a portable cooler made of biodegradable bamboo and cork; and a solar-powered water purification unit.

View coverage of the academy on 6ABC here.

“Instead of mom-and-pop businesses, we asked them to think about big global problems. If those problems were easy to solve, they’d already be solved,” said Eric Liguori, executive director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the William G. Rohrer College of Business. “They came up with some very cool ideas.”

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship presented the academy, which was sponsored by the TD Bank Charitable Foundation.

The free academy, which ran for two weeks in Rowan’s Business Hall, focused on the development of soft skills—including fostering an entrepreneurial mindset—as well as the development of specific entrepreneurial knowledge and expertise. The academy also helped students gain an exposure to student life on a college campus and to the excitement of working with a team on a common goal.

During the academy, students worked alongside faculty and student leaders to learn the basics of transforming an idea into a feasible, viable business. In the process, they learned about the entrepreneurial mindset, prototypes, understanding customers, making financial projections, and more. The academy culminated with each team pitching its big idea before a panel of judges

Students who completed the academy earned three college credits through the sponsorship of TD Bank. Each member of the winning team received a $100 VISA gift card.

While SolStars took the top prize, Sea Soul took the academy’s “People’s Choice” award as voted on by students and audience members. The team prototyped a business to turn trash and plastics into souvenirs in order to cut down on the negative impact tourism has on aquatic ecosystems. Team members received $25 VISA gift cards.

Rising juniors and seniors from Camden Charter Academy, Gloucester County Institute of Technology, Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, Camden County Technical School, George School, and Clearview, Kingsway, Delsea, Washington Township, Clayton, Glassboro, and Haddonfield high schools attended Think Like An Entrepreneur.