Students Start-Up their Dream Businesses

By Marina Stuart, Staff Writer

By Marina Stuart

ILP’s are an essential part of SLA’s curriculum. But one ILP is going beyond the  meet-once-a-week-after school-for-2-hours routine and giving kids a path to a future of entrepreneurship and business endeavors.

Start-Up Corps has been an ILP at SLA for three years now and is helping kids start businesses out of their talents and hobbies.

“The idea behind Start-Up corps is order to start a business, one needs to actual start it rather than start a business plan.” Said Christian Kunkel, the leader of the ILP at SLA “That is our fundamental belief, we want the kids to solve real world problems, and improve and adjust their plans based off feedback.”

“We brainstorm about problems in society and try to figure out ways we can solve them. Once we find solutions, we actually follow them through.” said Sophomore Korah Lovelace.

“My perception has changed since I first went to the first class in 10th grade, business isn’t just about greed and capitalism, it’s about investing in yourself and putting a value on what you care about the most” said Senior Nathan Kamal, who was in Start-Up Corps two years ago .“As a musician you are not just trying to be creative you are trying to be an entrepreneur and that’s a part of life”

A few weeks ago, there was a competition among all kids who are in the Start-Up Corps. Not all were SLA students, but students from other schools in the Philadelphia area. Overall there were about 200 kids. The goal was to have students pitch their business ideas to a panel of local entrepreneurs. There were 5 finalists and an one overall winner, who all got cash prizes for their business.

All of the finalists were SLA students.

The overall finalist was a sophomore named Cameron Klales. His business plan was to create SLA pens with the school’s mascot, the rocketship on it.

Senior Jason Davis was a finalist in 2011 and was at the competition “Christian asked me to come out and film some of the competition to help give the kids a way to to see themselves on camera and help them improve speaking on camera. It was a showcase for everyone in the program and what their business consists of.”

“The competition was really fun” said Sophomore April Woodburn “I walk out of it feeling better than I ever have after presenting something”  Woodburn had presented the idea for a hat shop, which is only one of the ventures she is working on during the ILP.

“I liked the fact that you got feedback” said Sophomore Khari Evans, also in the ILP, “The judges gave really good feedback and afterwards they gave extra information about your plans” Evans presented his idea for a product that he is also working on in his advanced engineering class.

This ILP also differs from other ILPs because the businesses that the kids start usually succeed and some alums of the ILP are continuing to use the connections and information learned there to create successful businesses.

“I founded 322X productions, which became a non-profit for helping creative youth, to produce quality music and video at an affordable rate.” Said Davis “The money (won at the competition last year) helped me kick start some projects I wanted to do, my main priority was finding ways to generate revenue so after high school I could keeping doing what I wanted.  We invested it into bigger projects, music videos, other projects like that.”  Davis recently put on two concerts for another SLA Senior named Ryan Francis.

This program works especially well at SLA because of the curriculum and the way the students are taught. Kunkel said “Solving problems, that’s the value of a business. This program works at SLA because its action based, and works with curriculum.”

The students also really enjoy it.

“The ILP was not what I expected” said Evans “But I learned to accept it.  We have guest mentors who come in and help us, and coach us on what we are doing. Usually it’s matched up with what the person does and what the student’s business is. We also work with organizations”

Overall this ILP is helping students reach their goals and giving them a stepping stone to the world of entrepreneurship.


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