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15 Extracurriculars for Future Entrepreneurs

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

business growth and progress

15 Extracurriculars for Future Entrepreneurs

Diving into entrepreneurship isn’t just about being book smart. You need a wide array of skills, and that’s where high school extracurriculars come into play. They’re not just fun add-ons to your schedule; they’re critical in shaping you into the entrepreneur of tomorrow.

In this post, we’re breaking down 15 extracurriculars that are gold mines for aspiring entrepreneurs. These activities, ranging from clubs focused on innovation to initiatives with a social heart, give you the chance to build the skills, creativity, and toughness needed to thrive in the entrepreneurial world. They push you beyond the regular classroom setting, offering real-world experience and a chance to grow in ways textbooks alone can’t provide.

1. Columbia University Introduction To Business, Finance, and Economics

  • Location: Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Registration Fee: unspecified
  • Important Dates: unspecified
  • Eligibility: High school students with a solid academic record and interest in business, finance, and economics​​​​​​​​​​

Columbia University’s Introduction to Business, Finance, and Economics program serves as a prime example of excellence in high school business and entrepreneurship initiatives. Held at one of the world’s foremost academic institutions, this program offers students an exciting opportunity to explore the realm of business, finance, and economics. This is suited for students with strong academic backgrounds and an interest in these disciplines.

business students brainstorming

The program directly benefits future entrepreneurs by providing a comprehensive curriculum that covers essential business concepts, financial principles, and economic theories. Through engaging coursework and real-world case studies, students develop critical thinking skills and learn to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios, equipping them with the expertise needed to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship with confidence.

2. Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College

  • Location: Barnard College, New York, NY
  • Registration Fee: $9,687.00 for the residential program
  • Important Dates: July 22, 2024 – August 10, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students aged 15-18​​​

One of the leading extracurriculars for future entrepreneurs, The Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College is a standout program in the field of business and entrepreneurship for high school students. Located in New York City, this institute presents an exciting three-week boot camp tailored for teenagers aged 15 to 18, scheduled from July 22 to August 10, 2024.

The institute offers a transformative experience for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing them with a comprehensive education in business and entrepreneurship. Through immersive coursework and hands-on activities, students develop essential decision-making skills crucial for entrepreneurial success. Moreover, the program’s residential format allows participants to immerse themselves fully in the college experience, fostering independence and a sense of community.

While the program requires a financial investment, the opportunity it provides for students to explore, innovate, and shape their entrepreneurial visions makes it a worthwhile investment in nurturing the next generation of business leaders.

3. Economics for Leaders (EFL)

  • Location: Various universities across the USA
  • Registration Fee: unspecified
  • Important Dates: Multiple sessions from early June to late July 2024
  • Eligibility: Current sophomores and juniors in high school​​​​​​

The Economics for Leaders (EFL) program, held at prestigious universities nationwide, stands out among business and entrepreneurship offerings for high school students. Geared toward current sophomores and juniors, EFL provides a selective and competitive opportunity focused on integrating economic principles into effective leadership and decision-making.

an adult employee demonstrating to a group of students

At its core, EFL offers a unique blend of leadership training and economic analysis, equipping young leaders with the tools to understand and apply economic reasoning to real-world issues and public policy decisions. This approach transcends traditional educational methods, ensuring participants not only comprehend complex economic concepts but also learn to employ them in leadership scenarios.

4. Leadership in the Business World (LBW)

  • Location: Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Registration Fee: $10,999 (excluding a non-refundable $100 application fee)
  • Important Dates: unspecified
  • Eligibility: Rising high school seniors​​​

The Leadership in the Business World (LBW) program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is highly regarded among business and entrepreneurship programs for high school students. Tailored specifically for rising seniors, LBW offers an immersive exploration of undergraduate business education alongside extensive leadership training. This intensive program aims to educate and refine crucial skills such as teamwork and communication essential for success in the business world.

LBW sets itself apart through its dynamic and interactive curriculum, which blends lectures from esteemed Wharton faculty and business leaders with real-time simulations and practical business activities. Covering a range of key business topics including organizational strategy, leadership competencies, negotiation, and customer-centric approaches, the program provides students with a comprehensive understanding of contemporary business practices.

5. National Economics Challenge

  • Location: New York City
  • Cost: Free
  • Competition Date: June 1–3, 2024
  • Application Deadline: April 13, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students

The National Economics Challenge (NEC) stands out as one of the most competitive finance and economics competitions for high school students in the United States. One of the extracurriculars for future entrepreneurs, this contest is exclusively focused on economics and is the only competition of its kind in the country. With over 10,500 students participating annually, the NEC tests students’ knowledge of economic principles and their capacity for critical thinking and problem-solving in real-world scenarios across state, national semi-final, and national final levels.

Through rigorous competition focusing on economic principles, critical thinking, and problem-solving, participants develop a deep understanding of economic concepts and their practical applications in real-world scenarios—skills vital for identifying opportunities, making informed business decisions, and navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship. Moreover, the competitive nature of the NEC promotes resilience, adaptability, and a drive for excellence, qualities essential for thriving in the dynamic and competitive landscape of entrepreneurship.

6. FBLA National Awards

  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Cost: $195.00
  • Competition Date: June 29 – July 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: May 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: FBLA members who qualify through their local and state-level competitions

The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) National Awards program offers a comprehensive platform for competitive events, aiming to acknowledge and honor excellence across diverse business and career-related fields. Engaging in FBLA competitions not only highlights your proficiency and expertise in various business domains but also fosters the development of practical skills crucial for your professional advancement.

a group of young professionals in a meeting room

During the national awards, students go through challenges across multiple competitions evaluating their business acumen and skills. Those who emerge victorious at this stage earn the chance to vie for national recognition at the annual National Leadership Conference held each summer. It’s crucial to recognize that states hold the authority to modify events offered at district/region and state levels. Therefore, it’s advisable to refer to your state’s guidelines for precise details when engaging in these competition tiers.

7. Summer At Georgetown: Fundamentals Of Economics

  • Location: Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
  • Registration Fee: unspecified
  • Important Dates: unspecified
  • Eligibility: high school students

The “Summer At Georgetown: Fundamentals Of Economics” program, held at Georgetown University, is an outstanding opportunity for high school students interested in business and entrepreneurship. As part of the university’s summer offerings, this course allows students to explore the basics of economics in a renowned academic environment.

The program is ideal for students aspiring to careers in business, finance, or related fields. This program offers a unique opportunity to establish a solid academic groundwork and explore the intricacies of economics beyond conventional classroom settings. Through this experience, students develop a deeper understanding of the economic dynamics influencing our world.

8. The Global Summer Learning Institute (GSLI)

  • Location: various global locations
  • Registration Fee: unspecified
  • Important Dates: depending on the location
  • Eligibility: high school students

GSLI focuses on a curriculum covering international business practices, global market trends, and cross-cultural communication skills, which are essential for students aiming to excel in global business. The program features workshops, seminars, and interactive sessions facilitated by seasoned professionals and academics, offering students valuable insights into global business strategies and practices.

Another major advantage of GSLI programs is the networking opportunities they provide with peers from various parts of the world. These interactions enable students to establish a global network, gain insight into diverse business landscapes, and cultivate a multicultural perspective—an invaluable asset in today’s interconnected business environment.

9. Babson Entrepreneurial Development Experience

  • Location: Babson College, Massachusetts
  • Registration Fee: unspecified
  • Important Dates: Specific program dates were not found.
  • Eligibility: High school students interested in entrepreneurship.

Babson College, renowned for its dedication to entrepreneurship education, provides a program that immerses students in the principles and practices of starting and managing a business. Participants are introduced to key aspects such as ideation, market research, business plan development, and potentially pitching and funding.

Two unidentified students, one holding a mobile phone the other holding a piece of paper with graphs written in them, studying at one of the best finance schools

Being involved this program equips high school students with both theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience in entrepreneurship. During their entrepreneurial development experience at Babson, students typically collaborate in teams to simulate real-world business scenarios, under the guidance of experienced faculty and business leaders. This experiential learning approach is crucial for comprehending the challenges and opportunities inherent in launching a new venture.

10. Wall Street 101 @ Bentley

  • Location: Bentley University, Massachusetts
  • Registration Fee: unspecified
  • Important Dates: unspecified
  • Eligibility: High school students interested in learning about the financial markets and Wall Street.

In this program, one of the best extracurriculars for future entrepreneurs, students delve into the basics of the stock market, investment strategies, financial analysis, and the functioning of Wall Street. The curriculum comprises lectures, interactive sessions, and hands-on activities like mock trading sessions or portfolio management exercises, offering practical insights into financial markets.

Participating in this program equips aspiring entrepreneurs with crucial knowledge and skills essential for success in the business world. By exploring the fundamentals of the stock market, investment strategies, financial analysis, and the workings of Wall Street, students gain a comprehensive understanding of key financial concepts crucial for entrepreneurial ventures.

The combination of lectures, interactive sessions, and hands-on activities, such as mock trading and portfolio management exercises, provides practical insights and experience in navigating financial markets. This firsthand exposure not only enhances students’ financial literacy but also fosters their ability to make informed decisions and manage financial resources effectively, essential attributes for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to launch and grow successful businesses in today’s dynamic market environment.

11. UCLA Summer Global Leadership Program

  • Location: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Registration Fee: unspecified
  • Important Dates: unspecified
  • Eligibility: High school students

The UCLA Summer Global Leadership Program is designed to provide students with an understanding of global leadership dynamics in business and entrepreneurship. This includes the exploration of key leadership theories and practices, gaining insights into the role of leaders in business environments, and honing skills in strategic thinking and decision-making.

An important feature of these programs is their focus on a global viewpoint. Students often participate in discussions and activities centered on international business scenarios, gaining an understanding of how cultural differences and global trends influence business strategies and leadership approaches. This global perspective is invaluable for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders across the globe.

12. Stock Market Game

  • Location: In all participating schools
  • Cost: Free
  • Competition Date:
    • Summer Session – June 12 to August 11, 2023
    • Fall Session- September 5 to December 1, 2023
    • Spring Session – January 8 to April 5, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: Grades 4 – 12

The Stock Market Game™, offered by the SIFMA Foundation, is an online simulation of the global capital markets that involves students from grades 4-12 in economics, investing, and personal finance. Serving as an educational tool since 1977, it has benefited nearly 20 million students, providing them with an opportunity to grasp the intricacies of financial markets. Designed to cultivate a foundational understanding of investing, the game also offers practical skills and application in subjects such as math, economics, and social studies.

stock broker working in front of a huge screen that shows the trend in the stock market

Participants in The Stock Market Game oversee a virtual portfolio comprising stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, gaining insights into the dynamics of financial markets. The game features various levels catering to beginners, intermediates, and advanced players, with simulated investments affected by company-specific and market-wide news.

This platform not only promotes financial literacy but also enhances academic performance and promotes positive saving and investing habits. It serves as an engaging method for individuals to learn about financial decision-making and understand the stock market’s influence on daily life.

13. The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an innovative program designed to empower young individuals with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to become successful entrepreneurs. Through a structured curriculum and hands-on learning experiences, YEA! guides students through the process of launching and running their own real businesses.

Participants learn valuable entrepreneurial concepts such as business planning, market research, financial management, marketing strategies, and pitching to investors. Mentored by local business leaders and professionals, students gain practical insights and guidance as they navigate the entrepreneurial journey.

14. Entrepreneurship Club

One of the extracurriculars for future entrepreneurs is entrepreneurship clubs which serve as effective platforms for students interested in pursuing entrepreneurship by providing them with opportunities to explore, develop, and refine their entrepreneurial skills and ideas. These clubs typically offer a variety of activities and resources designed to foster creativity, innovation, and business acumen among members. Students may engage in workshops, seminars, and guest speaker events covering topics such as business planning, marketing strategies, financial management, and pitching to investors.

]Additionally, entrepreneurship clubs often facilitate networking opportunities, allowing students to connect with like-minded peers, as well as established entrepreneurs and industry professionals, who can offer mentorship, guidance, and support along their entrepreneurial journey.

Moreover, entrepreneurship clubs provide a supportive and encouraging environment where students can test their ideas, receive constructive feedback, and learn from both their successes and failures. By immersing themselves in the vibrant entrepreneurial community cultivated within these clubs, students can gain the confidence, knowledge, and connections needed to turn their entrepreneurial aspirations into reality.

15. Public Speaking or Debate Club

Another one of the extracurriculars for future entrepreneurs is participating in a Public Speaking or Debate Club offers students a valuable opportunity to cultivate essential communication skills that are integral for success in entrepreneurship. By engaging in regular practice sessions, workshops, and competitive events, students develop confidence and proficiency in articulating their ideas, delivering persuasive presentations, and effectively conveying their viewpoints.

These clubs provide a supportive environment where students can hone their public speaking and debating abilities, refine their argumentation techniques, and learn how to engage with diverse audiences. Such skills are invaluable for entrepreneurs, as effective communication is essential for pitching business proposals, networking with stakeholders, and ultimately, securing support and investment for their ventures.

Through participation in these clubs, students not only enhance their ability to express themselves convincingly but also develop the confidence and presence necessary to thrive in the competitive world of entrepreneurship.

What college majors prepare students to become entrepreneurs?

Several college majors provide students with valuable skills and knowledge that can support their entrepreneurial endeavors. Here are five majors that prepare students to become entrepreneurs:

a female student being interviewed and hand shaken

  1. Business Administration: A degree in Business Administration equips students with a broad understanding of various business functions, including management, finance, marketing, and operations. This major provides a solid foundation in business principles and practices, essential for launching and managing a successful venture.
  2. Entrepreneurship: Some colleges offer specialized majors or concentrations in Entrepreneurship, which focus specifically on the skills and knowledge needed to start and grow a business. Students learn about opportunity recognition, business planning, innovation, and venture financing, preparing them to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship.
  3. Finance: A major in Finance provides students with expertise in financial analysis, investment strategies, and risk management. These skills are valuable for entrepreneurs who need to make informed financial decisions, manage cash flow, and secure funding for their ventures.
  4. Engineering: Engineering majors, particularly those in fields like Mechanical, Electrical, or Computer Engineering, develop problem-solving abilities, technical skills, and a strong foundation in technology. These skills are essential for developing innovative products or solutions, a key aspect of many entrepreneurial ventures.
  5. Marketing: A major in Marketing equips students with the knowledge and skills to identify target markets, create compelling messaging, and develop effective marketing strategies. Entrepreneurs need to understand consumer behavior, differentiate their products or services, and effectively promote their brand to attract customers and drive sales.

While these majors can provide valuable preparation for entrepreneurship, it’s important to note that successful entrepreneurs come from diverse academic backgrounds. Ultimately, the most important factors for entrepreneurial success are creativity, resilience, determination, and a willingness to learn and adapt.

What high school subjects should students who want to be entrepreneurs focus on?

Students who aspire to be entrepreneurs can benefit from focusing on a variety of high school subjects that provide them with essential skills and knowledge for success in the business world. Here are five high school subjects that students interested in entrepreneurship should consider focusing on:

  • Business Studies or Economics: Courses in Business Studies or Economics provide students with foundational knowledge of key business concepts, such as market dynamics, supply and demand, pricing strategies, and financial management. Understanding these principles is essential for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop viable business ideas and make informed decisions.
  • Mathematics: Mathematics is a fundamental subject for entrepreneurship, as it helps students develop analytical and problem-solving skills necessary for financial planning, budgeting, and data analysis. Courses in algebra, statistics, and calculus provide students with the quantitative skills needed to assess business opportunities, analyze market trends, and manage finances effectively.
  • Communication or Public Speaking: Effective communication is crucial for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, negotiate deals, and build relationships with customers, investors, and stakeholders. Courses in communication or public speaking help students develop strong verbal and written communication skills, as well as confidence in presenting their ideas persuasively.
  • Technology or Computer Science: In today’s digital age, technology plays a central role in entrepreneurship. Courses in technology or computer science provide students with essential skills in coding, programming, and digital literacy, enabling them to leverage technology to develop innovative products or services, create online platforms, and implement digital marketing strategies.
  • Creative Arts or Design: Creativity and innovation are essential qualities for successful entrepreneurs. Courses in creative arts or design help students cultivate their creativity, develop problem-solving abilities, and think outside the box. Whether it’s graphic design, visual arts, or creative writing, these courses encourage students to explore new ideas, perspectives, and approaches to problem-solving, fostering an entrepreneurial mindset.

3 people talking to each other

While focusing on these subjects can provide a strong foundation for entrepreneurship, it’s also important for students to pursue extracurricular activities, internships, and other opportunities that allow them to apply their skills and interests in real-world contexts and gain practical experience in entrepreneurship.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, active involvement in extracurricular activities is not just a supplement to academic studies but a vital component of preparing for entrepreneurial success. These activities offer a diverse range of opportunities for students to develop practical skills, foster creativity, and cultivate resilience—all essential traits for navigating the dynamic and competitive landscape of entrepreneurship.

By engaging in extracurricular activities such as entrepreneurship clubs, coding workshops, or community service initiatives, students gain firsthand experience in problem-solving, leadership, and innovation.

Moreover, these activities provide a platform for students to network with like-minded peers and mentors, fostering a supportive community that encourages collaboration and idea-sharing. Ultimately, students who actively participate in extracurricular activities are better equipped to translate their ideas into action, seize opportunities, and overcome challenges on their journey to becoming successful entrepreneurs.

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