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Summer Program

Our summer program taps into the potential of ambitious high school students, supporting you through the process of launching an actual startup.  Read on to learn more about the program.

About the Program

LaunchX has brought top aspiring high school entrepreneurs from around the world to university campuses each summer to start real companies from our first year in 2013 through 2019.  Then in the summer of 2020, we ran the program virtually to accommodate the safety concerns of the coronavirus pandemic, and students were thrilled to meet and exceed their learning goals and the objectives they set for their startups.   

The goal of our programs is to tap into the potential of ambitious high school students, supporting you through the process of launching an actual startup.

We help you join a highly-curated group of promising young entrepreneurs from around the globe, plus you learn from industry experts, and work in a group of peer co-founders to build real products and solve business challenges in viable ways.

LaunchX isn't a business plan competition - students start real companies. These startups are driven by using the design thinking process to discover innovative opportunities, backed by extensive market research, multiple iterations of prototypes and user testing, and gaining traction through getting real customers and partnerships.

In light of the rapidly changing situation around the world, we are in the process of assessing the best next steps for the 2021 summer program, plus determining any potential offerings for the near term.  Stay tuned and please fill out our interest form to stay informed!

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Take A Company From Idea To Execution

Work on a co-founder team of like-minded peers, stretching yourself beyond your limits throughout the entrepreneurial process to launch a real startup.

  • 1

    Explore

    Identify business opportunities

  • 2

    Research

    Formalize the idea with market research

  • 3

    Test the Concept

    Design and test your solution

  • 4

    Launch!

    Build business logistics and start selling

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Previous Program Locations

LaunchX summer program took place in summer 2020 in the virtual environment and in previous summers has taken place on the campus of several universities across the country.  Our aspiring young entrepreneurs come from around the globe to either the university or virtual space to learn from entrepreneurs, industry experts, and instructors while launching their startups.

Check out our past locations below. 

LaunchX Virtual Zoom image<

LaunchX Virtual

The LaunchX Virtual Summer Program delivers the same quality program experience and community in an online environment.  This isn’t just the interactive classes, simulations, and speakers. We also provide the mentors, check-ins, progress tracking of teams, and support for prototyping.  Your calendar is semi-customized with elective classes so that you get a more tailored experience, and since speakers are less restricted by geography, we're able to get some pretty awesome speakers!

Check out this blog post for more
MIT Summer Session Two 2019<

Cambridge / Boston

A hub for technology and engineering, Cambridge has many top universities that are unparalleled in their ability to crank out new inventions and startups. Being located in Cambridge allows LaunchX to pull from these many top universities for speakers, mentors, and inspiration as the students of the program embrace this innovative culture of their surroundings to bring their ideas to life.  Students will have the oppurtunity to learn from LaunchX staff plus industry professionals while attending classes on a university campus.

Northwestern University Summer Program 2018<

Northwestern University

Center for Talent Development (CTD) at Northwestern University has been serving academically talented students and their families for over 35 years. Based outside of Chicago on Northwestern's Evanston, Illinois campus, CTD works within the School of Education and Social Policy to ensure gifted students receive the education, encouragement, and support they need to grow into confident and accomplished lifelong learners.

As a part of Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, you’ll belong to an international community of high-achieving peers and receive access to the main hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship on campus.

Note: The Northwestern Center for Talent Development location requires that international students obtain a student visa - more information is provided upon admission.

University of Michigan Summer Program 2019<

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan has captured the #1 spot on the undergraduate entrepreneurship programs ranking list published by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.  With a top entrepreneurial ecosystem consisting of speaker series, tech resources, and accelerator opportunities, this top university is equipping students to "Be the Difference." 

Living on-campus at the university, your LaunchX courses will be taught by LaunchX staff plus expert guest speakers as you receive specialized mentorship from the movers and shakers of this rapidly growing startup scene.

University of Pennsylvania Summer Program 2018<

University of Pennsylvania

Innovation is intrinsic to Penn—part of the school’s legacy and roots since its founding by Benjamin Franklin in 1740. And much like Franklin’s belief that “well-done is better than well-said,” the culture at Penn is one of taking action and experimenting in pursuit of impact.

Living on-campus at the university, your LaunchX courses will be taught by LaunchX staff plus expert guest speakers as you receive specialized mentorship from the movers and shakers of Philadelphia’s rapidly growing startup scene.

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Example Previous Speakers

During the LaunchX Summer 2020 Virtual Program, core classes were taught by the amazing LaunchX staff who are primarily entrepreneurs and educators, plus students signed up for elective sessions to customize their experience, learning from entrepreneurs, industry experts, and instructors while launching their startups.

Check out some of our elective session speakers below.

Caiti Donavan<

Caiti Donavan

Caiti Donovan is global marketer, world traveler, and mentor. She has spent nearly 15 years working in advertising, marketing, and digital media. This includes experience at major media companies like Viacom and Spotify, where she developed regional and global marketing programs and narratives which have been recognized by organizations like MediaPost and AdAge.

Caiti Donovan is the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of SheIS Sport. Their mission is to use the power of women’s sport to create a future of, by, and for strong women. The organization focuses on the positive attributes of sport to increase fan engagement with women’s sports, while acknowledging and celebrating those who are collective powerhouses and unwavering cheerleaders for women in sport at all levels.

Our students had this to say:

  • Absolutely amazing session!!! I really enjoyed listening to Caiti's train of thoughts when she designed the marketing strategies for the big brands like Spotify.
  • It was very helpful - thank you! This was extremely fascinating to see, especially with examples of the company you're currently working on, and Spotify, which is an app I use daily, and seeing how much the data drives how each app/website works. Thank you!
  • Data driven marketing is what, I believe, all entrepreneurs should be mindful of in the 21st Century. It helped our team understand how to understand customer behaviors and shopping patterns using reliable data.
  • My key takeaway is that marketing can never be based from what you think you know but rather what you have found though research.
Bill Aulet<

Bill Aulet

Bill Aulet is changing the way entrepreneurship is understood, taught and practiced around the world. He is an award-winning educator and author whose current work is built off the foundation of his 25-year successful business career first at IBM and then as a three-time serial entrepreneur. His first book, Disciplined Entrepreneurship, released in August 2013, has been translated into 18 languages and has been the content for three online edX courses which have been taken by hundreds of thousands of people in 199 different countries. He has been a featured speaker on shows such as CNBC’s Squawk Box, BBC News, Bloomberg News as well as at events and conferences around the world. He has degrees from Harvard and MIT and is a board member of MITEK Systems (NASDAQ: MITK) and XL Hybrids Inc. (Private) as well as a visiting professor at University of Strathclyde (Scotland). On July 1, 2017, Bill was named a Professor of the Practice at MIT Sloan.

Our student had this to say about their session with Bill:

  • Definitely one of the highlights of my LaunchX experience! I loved this session. I learned about different myths that really challenged my mindset and how I view entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs.
  • The content is pretty interesting and the slides are really cool, which totally drew my attention to the course
  • Entrepreneurship is invention combined with commercialization, and both are very important in ensuring a successful startup! In a team, you should have people specializing in both aspects.
  • Being a successful entrepreneur takes skill, passion and drive. Passion for an idea isn't enough - be passionate about your vision, your values.
Christa Chambers-Price<

Christa Chambers-Price

Christa Chambers-Price is the CEO of Entre-SLAM, Inc. a brand story and marketing strategy group. Christa is a U.S. Military Intelligence Army veteran and a former FBI Analyst. She helps brands discover, build, and launch big ideas that move the world. With an emphasis on consumer psychology, behavioral science, and storytelling, Entre-SLAM has crafted a methodology that guides innovators on how to discover what makes their brands unique and identify market opportunities, while learning how to blend them together to tell a compelling story. 

Our students had this to say:

  • Miss Chambers-Price is quite different from other speakers considering that she has been in the army - this may be common in the US, but definitely NOT where I live in (Hong Kong). We don't often see (former) army members hosting lectures for high school kids.
    But I enjoyed it quite a lot since she was able to inspire me to think how to discover my purpose at Launch and at my own startup with her unique experiences.
  • Your brand isn't just company it is building your image so that it is compelling and presentable to others because people invest in others, not the company.
  • Never ever give up on your mission! Your mission should be so compelling that everyone involved with your brand is subconsciously aware of it.
Robert Glazer<

Robert Glazer

Robert Glazer is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, international keynote speaker and author of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller, Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others. His new book, Friday Forward: Inspiration and Motivation to End Your Week Stronger Than It Started, comes out September 1. 

Student comments:

  • The most valuable thing I learned in this session is that spiritual capacity provides a framework for all other aspects of leadership and team dynamic. Spiritual capacity is not necessarily religious; rather, it is one's set of core or "North Star" values. One can pinpoint and strengthen their own core values by asking questions.
  • Being inspirational yourself is really important, especially in a team dynamic. I learned that if you don't believe in your own company, no one else will
Diane Darling<

Diane Darling

Before starting her own business as a speaker, consultant, and career coach, Diane’s career spanned the globe. She was a tour leader on all seven continents and in over 60 countries, a non-profit fund-raiser, and a business guru helping top companies maximize their talent, time, and money.

Drawing from these experiences, Diane’s talks and one-on-one coaching services teach people how to find common ground with others in order to form beneficial relationships for mutual benefit.

As an internationally published author, educator, and consultant, every year Diane teaches thousands how to find their voice and use it to advance their careers and find success in their lives. McGraw-Hill published her books in 9 languages - which is amazing since she only speaks English.

Student comments:

  • I've watched quite a number of pitches before Launch, but I didn't think closely to how it is crafted in a systematic but unique way. I learned about great ways to put oneself out there, and effectively deliver the core message behind one's startup. The lessons taught in this elective also will help me when pitching during LaunchX, and after.
  • It was especially helpful as we are crafting our pitches now and I learned a lot about the importance of storytelling which we could include in our pitch.
Michael Poisel<

Michael Poisel

Mr. Poisel is responsible for managing PCI Ventures, including transitioning technologies into start-up companies, assisting the principal investigators with funding strategies including grant applications, as well as mentoring the developing companies.

Prior to UPenn, Michael made investments in enterprise software and business services for NewSpring Capital, Apax Partners and GE Capital spanning more than ten years in private equity. He began his career in manufacturing operations for General Electric/Lockheed Martin and participated in the successful completion of several commercial and government satellite programs.

  • Start building relationship before you ask for money. “If you ask for advice, they’ll give you money. If you ask for money, they’ll give you advice.”
  • I thought the session was very informative and interactive, with important steps for our startups. The most valuable thing I learned in this session was the long process, with specific anecdotes, from an idea, to company formation, team recruitment, business development, capital acquisition, to business operations.
Gerry Roston<

Gerry Roston

Gerry recently served as an Executive-in-Residence (EIR) for a medical device program jointly run by Spectrum Health Innovation and others. Recently, he was the CEO of Civionics, a University of Michigan Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT) startup that was acquired; and an EIR at TechTown Detroit, where he helped entrepreneurs transition their ideas into sustainable businesses. Gerry earned his PhD from Carnegie Mellon, where he worked on ground-breaking mobile robotics projects; and recently passed the USPTO patent bar exam.

Students had this to say about the session:

  • I learned about different ways to start prototyping a design. I learned about different types of models, how to develop them, and significance of MVP. Moreover, I learned about how to actually start prototyping because there are different types and ways to prototype.
  • The most valuable thing I learned in this session was how were the steps needed to be taken to build a minimum viable product, with all sorts of modeling tools that might help us do that, from physical objects to digital software.
  • Working with a tech startup, this session provided valuable advice when it came to how to work through iterations and operations of a tech prototype.
  • I thought the session had a lot of informative content and I enjoyed the class exercise in designing an app idea with example card screens.
Philip Greenwald<

Philip Greenwald

Philip Greenwald is the associate director of technology at Harvard Innovation Labs. Before founding the Lab’s Technology Development department, he lead technology programming and advised student and alumni entrepreneurs on software development and building new technologies.

In addition to teaching, Phil has worked with aspiring CEOs and young professionals from Boston to Korea to bring minimum viable products (MVPs) to realization, secure business funding, and get accepted into accelerators such as Y Combinator and MassChallenge. He has officially advised approximately 60 startups that have in aggregate raised over $100 Million. Prior to teaching, Phil was the chief software architect on several large-scale web and mobile applications and the Founder of the Code Undercover coding school. Phil continues to take on a small number of clients for whom he oversees large-scale and tough tech development tasks, primarily in the fields of AI, AR/VR, and mobile app development.

Students had this to say about Philip's session:

  • He's seriously the best teacher I've ever had in my entire life I never imagined that a virtual class would be the best thing I've experienced so far I'm so thankful for having this opportunity and for sure I've learned far more than just coding and nerdy stuff. He was so patient with 35 students, each had their own problems and difficulties but he was committed and he helped every single one, he put in his time and patience and just went through it all. Instead of 8 hours per day we worked for 12 and more per day which is something not much people would sacrifice for others, he inspired me to change for the better. I'm so grateful, I don't think I made him know how much I enjoyed this weekend, but he deserves tons of credit for it and I hope one day I could meet him which is pretty close to impossible, but I really hope thank you for giving me this opportunity. 
  • BEST CLASS I HAVE EVER TAKEN! I learned so much about Ruby on Rails, the different syntax, and a lot about the back end of programming!
  • Phil is an incredible instructor! What a treat to learn from him this weekend. I gained lots of valuable insight into how coding works because I came into this workshop with little experience with coding.
  • This was an amazing experience. Mr. Greenwald as a fantastic teacher. He was patient with all questions and happily shared his knowledge about deeper concepts that weren't part of the course. He spent hours and hours making sure that everyone was on the same page and that everyone's code would work. I learned a ton from this session and every second was worth it!
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Learning and Growth

Entrepreneurship allows students to test their interest in different job functions and industries, while making an impact on something real. LaunchX engages students in the entrepreneurial process, challenging these young entrepreneurs to build initiative, adaptability, and relationship skills necessary for entrepreneruial success.

Entrepreneurs have to be dedicated self-starters, so we encourage students to take the lead, guiding them with the process and mentorship.  These are real startups, and these young founders have full accountability for the results and outcomes. 

This is a powerful vehicle for intense growth along several important dimensions of 21st century skills plus social and emotional learning.

Decision making skills (problem solving, risk analysis, adaptability)<

Decision making skills

Decision-Making

Problem-solving, risk analysis, and adaptability

Awareness (self-awareness, growth mindset, and self-direction)<

Awareness and Growth Mindset

Awareness

Self-awareness, growth mindset, and self-direction

Relationship skills (social awareness, communication skills, and collaboration skills)<

Relationship skills

Relational Skills

Social awareness, communication, and collaboration

Engagement (initiative, drive, accountability, resiliency, and grit)<

Engagement and Resiliency

Engagement

Initiative, drive, accountability, resilience, and grit

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Program Dates and Fees

Program *Dates *Program Fee 

LaunchX Summer 2020

Virtual Program

June 29 - August 7, 2020

(past)

$5,450

LaunchX Summer 2021

TBD

TBD TBD

Please note that 2021 program will not be announced until January 2021. 

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Financial Need-Based Support

Our admissions process is need-blind, meaning if you indicate that you need financial support, this will not impact your chances of acceptance in any way. 

Examples of our reduction of program fees based on family income include:

Family Income of Admits* Range of Program Fees Family Pays**
$0-25k $25 - $3,750
$25-50k $100 - $6,500
$50-75k $1,200 - FULL
$75k+ FULL

Please note that the above financial need decisions were based on the in-person summer program, so may differ from any virtual program financial need offerings.

*Family income includes all sources of income, including untaxed income and excluding losses; 

**Range varies based on specific family circumstance of location, costs, income, and assets.

Please note that while we have offered financial need-based support to international students in previous years, this is subject to change.

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Application Deadlines

We will begin admissions for the 2021 program in early 2021, though you can fill out the form linked here to be notified when the application becomes available.

 

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teen entrepreneur brainstorming activity<
high school student startup pitch<
student raising hand, learning entrepreneurship<
teen entrepreneur in summer entrepreneurship program<

Find Out More

Watch our video to learn about our summer entrepreneurship program for high school students.

Watch Video

Bringing a real product to the market during the short timeframe of the summer is no small task.

Classroom activities, case study discussions and mentor meetings will immerse you in the entrepreneurial process and push you to stretch the limits of what you thought was possible. Each day, you’ll learn from startup founders and industry experts who know first-hand what it takes to build a viable company. During the downtime of your scheduled class sessions, mentor meetings, and instructor check-ins, you’ll work with your cofounder team to put these lessons to work—applying your newfound knowledge and skills to take your company to the next level.

Your LaunchX experience will be challenging. It will be intense. And it will be worth it.  Join us for this groundbreaking and life-changing experience!

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What makes a great candidate for our summer program?

Great applicants do not need to have experience in entrepreneurship, but need to have shown self-initiative, resilience, problem solving capacity, and teamwork skills that show the propensity for great entrepreneurial capacity.  

**Notice that grades and awards don’t make the list! Yes, we ask you to submit your transcripts, but this is the least important part of the application.

  • 1

    Initiative

    You push yourself outside of your comfort zone

  • 2

    Impact

    You create real, measurable results

  • 3

    Resilience

    You persevere and don't make excuses when things get tough

  • 4

    Collaboration

    You’re able to put team goals before yourself

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What alumni say about our entrepreneurship program

Sean Ohja, cofounder at Luminos Education<

Sean Ohja, cofounder at Luminos Education

LaunchX gave me the most immersive entrepreneurial experience of my entire life, endowed me with a powerful skill set, and introduced me to an unreal network of motivated individuals across the globe.

Read Testimonial
Isha Mayor, cofounder at Commemorate<

Isha Mayor, cofounder at Commemorate

The more I get involved with entrepreneurship, the more I'm amazed by how far good relationships can get you. LaunchX is the perfect place to learn people skills, build relationships, and embark on your entrepreneurial journey.

Read Testimonial
Kiara Wahnschafft, teen entrepreneur and cofounder and CEO at SafeStart<

Kiara Wahnschafft, cofounder and CEO at SafeStart

When I found LaunchX after searching for entrepreneurship programs online, it seemed like the ideal summer challenge: turning an idea into a real company with a tangible product in just four weeks. Within days of leaving, I wanted to go back, but I at least knew that I would continue working with my two cofounders, whom I continue to meet with to this day. The community extends beyond my cofounders, though, to a group of individuals drawn to innovation and exploration of how challenges can be harnessed to create a vision of a better reality.

Read Testimonial