Perhaps the Greatest Benefit of an Entrepreneurship Program

And I Didn’t Even Realize It…

This spring marks the 10th year anniversary of the entrepreneurship program at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy—and wow, has it grown in those ten years. We started with three rolling wooden carts topped with coffee equipment and now we have six businesses on campus, fourteen elective courses, a certificate track, and six full-time faculty members.

If you asked me, throughout the process, for my take on the biggest benefit students in the program were getting, my answers would have varied but would most certainly have centered on the obvious: students were getting practical skills for real-world success, they were developing the skills of collaboration and effective communication, they were embracing a growth mindset and developing grit, and they were redefining failure and becoming opportunity seeking.

And all of that is true. What I didn’t realize, however, was the long-lasting impact and change the program was causing in the students. I woke up to this reality a few weeks ago after watching an emotionally charged video.

To celebrate the 10-year anniversary, I hired our video production students to make a special video detailing the history of our Leaning Eagle Coffee Bar—the flagship business that started the whole program. To do this, they began interviewing some of the original students who now are in their late 20’s.

The resulting footage was incredible. Ten years ago, Emma, a rising senior, was named overall manager of the coffee bar (a student CEO role) and she took the opportunity to grow and develop throughout the year as she led a team of her peers. Emma graduated and went on to college and then to her career and now, at 28 years of age, she returned to the school and sat in front of the business she helped launch and explained the true impact it had on her life. After describing how the experience set her up for future leadership and management roles, she said the following:

“I think the greatest thing that the coffee bar did for me was to instill confidence in myself to be able to do anything that I wanted to do.”

I stopped the video and replayed the line. Then again. I was floored—I had expected her to say that the greatest thing for her was the chance to lead or develop an entrepreneurial mindset or something of the sort, but what she said was more powerful than I ever imagined: the confidence to be able to do anything that she wanted to do.

Imagine the power of having a program that, in real time, develops this level of confidence in our students. Imagine those students leaving and taking that confidence into wherever their next steps lead. Then imagine the impact those students will leave on the world. Entrepreneurship is more than a program—it is a state of mind with life-changing results.

The future of education is bright indeed!

Check out some of the video footage from our 10th year anniversary of the Leaning Eagle Coffee Bar—this clip features Charleigh, the current student COO of the coffee bar, as she is recorded by our brand-new student-run video development team and the result is a masterclass on the role that collaboration plays in building entrepreneurship programming.

Let’s Go!

Imagine your culture infused with growth mindset, grit, redefining failure, and opportunity seeking. Imagine your team acting and thinking like entrepreneurs.

Stephen Carter