Social Entrepreneur Program

The Junior Entrepreneurship Program provides students in the 11th grade with real-world, hands-on learning experiences. Students learn how to successfully identify problems, needs, and opportunities; test ideas that address those opportunities and turn those ideas into products, services, and solutions that benefit society. The focus of the program is on innovation, leadership, and group work. Culminating in a "Shark Tank"-like presentation on a morning in late May, each group presents their product and business model to a panel of experts.


THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM WAS SOMETHING I MOST LOOKED FORWARD TO my junior year, and I was excited to take part in it. At the end of the year, juniors are split up into groups based on their Meyers-Briggs personality type. The students are then given a task to create a product or service, which is then presented to the judges at the end of the week. This past year, the program developed into becoming a social entrepreneurship, and the task was to identify a problem, need, or opportunity in our community, and create a product or service that addressed that issue and benefited society.

The last week of May rolled around, and it was time for the program to begin. Each day, we dressed as if we were going to work and were treated as business professionals attending a conference. Every day was exciting and different. We had guest speakers all throughout the week: a psychologist who helped us to understand our MBTI- personality type; a college professor giving us tools to be good leaders and teammates; business women highly experienced in PR and marketing, one of whom was alumna Katie Tyson (pictured on the previous page); and a successful entrepreneur who was also one of the judges. Attending workshops and ultimately learning what it takes to start and maintain a successful business was fascinating and motivated us to come up with a great idea. We were placed into real world situations and our abilities and skills were tested and improved by learning to work cohesively with one another, deciding on concrete ideas, doing extensive research, and producing a final product or service.

Eager to jump into the program, my group came up with “Glam for Good,” a nonprofit service project designed to help long-term hospital patients build confidence and lift their spirits by providing self-care services including: makeup application, hair styling, manicures, pedicures, and more. Our goal was to help patients feel beautiful inside and out throughout their hospital stay. Excited to have come up with an idea of which we were proud, we spent the week reaching out to makeup companies to sponsor us, creating a website, and designing our publicity materials. We received a full line of makeup from a company called Thrive Causemetics, who makes nontoxic makeup specifically made for cancer patients. We also decided “Glam for Good” would make prominent use of the color pink in our materials, paying homage to Breast Cancer Awareness.

On the morning of the presentation, nerves were high, but excitement and pride were higher. As each group presented on the stage, it was clear everyone worked their hardest. No two ideas were the same, highlighting everyone’s creativity and uniqueness. It was my group’s turn and our hope was to be enthusiastic, positive and fun; the way we would be when travelling to the hospitals to deliver the services to patients who deserve it the most. We got up on stage and everything just clicked into place. Our nerves calmed, and we just had fun up there presenting the project about which we were so passionate.

Our hard work paid off! To our surprise, we were fortunate enough to be the winning team! The entrepreneurship program fostered our organization, and interpersonal and public speaking skills, challenged us to think outside the box, meet deadlines, and manage our time effectively, all while participating in a meaningful and unique program.

Written by: Gigi McBride '19

Entrepreneurship Program: How it Started

In the spring of 2016, Mary Hopkins, the then Assistant Head of School, proposed the Junior Entrepreneurship Program at Holy Child for Spring of 2017.  The goals of the program would focus on helping students develop 21st century skills emphasizing critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication, and problem-solving. The program was developed in consultation with Marc Steren, author of The Student’s Guide to Entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurship teacher at Georgetown University and the Bullis School. Mr. Steren developed a method of teaching the fundamental tenants of entrepreneurship called BACCA or Belief, Association of Teams and Design Thinking, Canvas, Customer Development and Analytics. Using his model for teaching entrepreneurship, Holy Child launched its inaugural Junior Entrepreneurship Program. The program ran for two weeks in May, with each day focused on topics including: team-building activities, team challenges, field trips to small businesses, and guest speakers. Teams of students worked together to create innovative products and services using a business plan that included branding, market analysis, financial planning, and development of prototypes. The two week Entrepreneurship Program ended with a "Shark Tank"-like competition. All teams presented to a panel of judges made up of faculty and alums with extensive business acumen. The pitches themselves were innovative and exciting as teams made use of videography, audience participation, and demonstrations.  Products included a phone case that functioned as a fidget to help with focus and attention, and an app to monitor homework assignments.  The prize of $2,000 was awarded to the winning team members (Class of 2018's McKenna Gazdag, Eliza Caldwell, Geritza Carrasco, Olivia Welsh, and Audrey Fishbach) to be used towards launching their own company. The winner was "Lend Your Look," a website to facilitate dress exchange (similar to Rent the Runway) among Holy Child girls for dances and other significant events.

Following the important first year of the program, the administration and faculty took time to evaluate and reflect, and they decided that, rather than just developing marketable products, the Junior Entrepreneur Program needed a social component to match more closely with the school’s mission and beliefs. Led by Kim Hogan, Director of Teaching and Learning, the program was refocused to require the students to innovate a product or service to solve a real world issue and improve the lives of others.  Eleven teams worked together over two weeks to research challenges in the areas of health care, education, agriculture, transportation, social services and safety and security.  Each team identified a problem; they imagined ways to reframe the problem and create solutions using design thinking.  Some teams created apps to provide information about services for the homeless, gun violence, drug safety, and education.  Other teams envisioned an educational kit for young children that would make them more active and a soap dispenser machine that would reduce the amount of plastic used for detergent.   The winner was a non-profit company called "Glam for Good," that would provide makeovers for long-term hospital patients.  This company proposed a partnership with area hospitals and a make-up company that specializes in make-up for cancer patients.

Looking forward to our third year, we hope to build on our success and to continue to develop our students into design thinkers who make a difference in our world.

Written by: Kim Hogan, Director of Teaching and Learning and Mary Hopkins, Former Assistant Head of School