Founder Laurie Stach recalled her frustration as a young girl when adults told her she’d do great things someday. At the same time, she had felt underprepared with the skills to succeed in her career. She’d always had the passion and drive to create real impact—what she’d lacked as a young student was the tools, resources, and confidence to do it. Suddenly, Laurie knew she had to pursue this mission.
Laurie prepared to run the pilot summer of LaunchX at her alma mater, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her first summer, she was able to accept only 15% of the 210 student applications, validating that there was a real need here. Yes—this program was something that ambitious high school students wanted.
MIT took notice. There was synergy between our hands-on strategy to help students churn out companies in just one month and MIT’s mens et manus—mind and hand—philosophy. LaunchX also implements many aspects of Professor Bill Aulet’s Disciplined Entrepreneurship methodology. We were invited to join MIT’s Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship as the Trust Center’s offering for high school students.
We grew from one session of 30 students the first summer to two sessions of 40 students. Our students were inspired and energized by entrepreneurship, and began bringing LaunchX curriculum back to their own high schools to start entrepreneurship clubs. Upon seeing this demand, we began to support these clubs with curricular resources and mentorship, and LaunchX Clubs were born.
Applications for the summer program were rolling in. We accepted 120 students this summer in order to make our program available to even more aspiring entrepreneurs.
Recognizing the need for greater reach of entrepreneurship education, we developed and launched our online course, Becoming an Entrepreneur, on the edX/ MITx platform, allowing students from around the world to start their entrepreneurial journey.
After receiving the highest number of applicants yet, our summer program enrollment reached an all-time high of 160 students. We want to make entrepreneurship education available to even more high school students, so we left the Trust Center to expand to other universities.