Teen entrepreneurs from the STEM School Highlands Ranch high school presented their education start-up, Learning Spark, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as part of the MIT Launch clubs competition. MIT Launch, based out of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the Sloan School of Management, is an international program for high school entrepreneurs.
“Launch provided my team with the resources to apply their technical skills to the field of entrepreneurship,” says Erast Davidjuk. Davidjuk is the president and founder of the program at his school, STEM School Highlands Ranch, and is the U.S. central director for the MIT Launch Clubs program.
The team followed the Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework which included various different steps that were imperative to create a viable structure to the business. The Learning Spark team worked with a remote mentor that provided insight into marketing strategy, the development of financial projections, and preparing a sales pitch presentation.
Finally, the team was assigned with creating a sixty-second elevator pitch to describe their business and the research they conducted over the duration of the year long program. Jake Billings, a co-founder and technology manager at Learning Spark, said: “Launch gave me the education I need to start my business”. The elevator pitches were evaluated by a panel that included business moguls in the Boston area and Harvard professors. The STEM School team was selected as one of 12 finalists from a pool of over 400 initial submissions from around the world.
Their company, Learning Spark, is dedicated to maximizing academic performance in underprivileged schools by providing school districts with materials to improve STEM (science, technology, mathematics, engineering) education. Learning Spark provides a toolbox to enhance student hands-on learning in order to maximize STEM proficiency, standardized test scores, financial aid, and college acceptance in underachieving schools.
“The MIT Launch program gave me the tools to expand our business, and I hope that we can create a meaningful, insightful, and lasting impact on our education system through Learning Spark,” said Sebastian Del Barco co-founder and financial manager. As a finalist, Learning Spark is set on receiving a $5000 grant from the MIT Launch organization after a final evaluation in the fall.