2022 Grants Challenge

Delivering Entrepreneurship Education for 21st-Century Success

Idea by BUILD.org

With training and ongoing support from BUILD teachers across LAUSD high schools, BUILD will enrich STEAM and CTE education with the integration of our experiential-based entrepreneurship curriculum. As students learn and apply design thinking to develop solutions to help their communities, they will develop self-agency, an entrepreneurial mindset, and essential socio-emotional learning (SEL) skills that have been shown to predict future career and life success.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Public schools in America are leaving the most vulnerable students under-qualified and ill-prepared for the demands of a changing job market. Only 77% of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students graduate high school and only 62% of graduates meet admission requirements for the University of California and/or the California State University systems Now more than ever, LA youth need an entrepreneurial mindset, real-world skills, confidence, and agility to thrive in the future workforce, regardless of their desired career field. Within the next 20 years, 47% of all jobs are likely to be eliminated by technology. Sixty-five percent of children entering school now will work in a job that does not currently exist. Entrepreneurship education prepares youth for an uncertain future. Project-based entrepreneurship training keeps youth actively engaged in learning, reduces dropout rates, and improves student outcomes while maximizing the “real-life” application of school.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

With extensive training and bi-weekly coaching from BUILD staff, teachers across Los Angeles will be able to enrich Career and Technical Education (CTE) and STEAM courses with real-world entrepreneurship training. By integrating the BUILD curriculum into existing CTE and STEAM courses, teachers will give students the opportunity to enhance their work-readiness skills, build an entrepreneurial mindset, develop SEL skills, and also connect with industry professionals. Featuring dynamic digital content and gamified experiences, BUILD introduces students to design thinking and entrepreneurship. Working in teams, students learn and apply human-centered design thinking (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test) to develop business solutions to real social problems. Students test and improve upon their business ideas with input from prospective users; develop a business plan and financial projections, pitch to investors, and participate in a Shark Tank-like business competition. Along the way, students also receive opportunities to connect with corporate professionals who serve as mentors, pitch and business plan judges, and lead networking and career panel events. Unlike other entrepreneurship programs, BUILD features dynamic, culturally responsive digital content, gamified elements, and connections to corporate partners to keep students engaged and deepen learning. BUILD also uniquely focuses on social entrepreneurship empowering future changemakers.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

BUILD will train and support eight LA teachers to integrate our entrepreneurship and career-readiness programming in at least eight CTE and STEAM courses across eight high schools to impact more than 700 students during School Year 2022-23. Our goal is to enhance STEAM and CTE courses with entrepreneurship training that prepares youth to create their own opportunities, adapt to a continuously changing job landscape, and be resilient in the face of adversity. With BUILD, LA students will graduate high school with essential SEL competencies (collaboration, communication, innovation, problem-solving, and goal orientation), social capital, an entrepreneurial mindset, and real-world skills necessary for career success. In the long term, by equipping educators with rigorous real-world content, coaching, and corporate connections, BUILD promotes equity in education. Our goal is to help teachers become better teachers and continue to use our curriculum to positively impact LA students.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

This will be the second year of our three year pilot program for LA schools. The pilot was launched this school year with 5 LAUSD teachers serving approximately 387 students in 5 high schools. These teachers saw student learning and engagement deepen with the integration of BUILD in their classes. One teacher integrated BUILD into their videography class, with students identifying SEL skills in documentary films and presenting their design challenge process in short documentaries. Another LA teacher asked students to use design thinking to address UN Sustainable Development Goals empowering youth to think of broader impact. Three out of the five teachers we worked with will continue their partnership with us. Teacher satisfaction and retention are part of our measurements for success as is student skill acquisition in design thinking, increased social capital, SEL competencies, public speaking, and entrepreneurial concepts and mindset.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 500

Indirect Impact: 120