Printed in Venture Atlanta on June 3, 2015
“I can honestly say, with conviction, that the four weeks of this class have influenced my life for the long run.”
That’s what one student said after completing a short-term course withInnovation in Action.
Innovation in Action, formerly known as the Center for Entrepreneurship, brings inquiry-based learning programs to high school students in Atlanta and across the country. The organization was founded in 2011 by serial entrepreneur Eric Jacobsen who had a vision of encouraging youth to pursue a path that is meaningful.
Since then, Innovation in Action has organized a variety of programs: from 3-day workshops to week-long summer camps to internship-based challenges in partnership with local school and companies in Atlanta, Georgia; Park City, Utah; Boston, Massachusetts and other cities.
The goal of the organization is to leverage local resources, namely innovative companies and civic-minded entrepreneurs, to train students at the intersection of business, social entrepreneurship, and education. It is led by executive director Lindsey Mangone, formerly of Deloitte, who joined the organization in 2014. Her passion is to see youth transformed through mentor-based relationships.
Innovation in Action’s camps and workshops focus on introducing students to design thinking, the growth mindset, the Business Model Canvas, Innovator’s DNA, and the tenets of the Lean Startup. Student teams are paired with local mentors to work on solving real problems.
During a short-term course at the Paidea School in Atlanta last spring, one student worked with the school’s psychologist and a local shelter to develop a mindfulness program for homeless people in his neighborhood.
This year, Coca Cola, the Centers for Disease Control and the Atlanta Beltline will be participating in the program and will present students with real business challenges.
Atlanta teacher Miranda Knowles who has led two sessions at the Paidea School said:
“Social entrepreneurship actually really speaks to me as a field of inspiration for students. I love giving kids the space to understand an issue deeply and design something to make a positive impact.”
Innovation in Action also wants to bring their curriculum to cities where students don’t have access to resources that might launch them on the path of entrepreneurship. Currently, the program runs on a tuition-based revenue model, with corporate sponsors subsidizing the cost and providing scholarships for deserving students.
Among the program’s other biggest needs right now are for innovative spaces to host student events and for mentors and facilitators to lead the way in their communities.
There are currently two summer programs open for registration:
- June 15-17 at the Atlanta Tech Village
This 3-day workshop will encompass Entrepreneurship 101 and allow students to participate in a design challenge, culminating in a pitch competition.
- July 6-10 at Chick Fil A Headquarters
This week-long camp will allow students to dive deep into the Business Model Canvas and the Innovator’s DNA.