Introducing INCubatoredu: An Innovative Curriculum Unlike Any Other

A common complaint among students upon graduation is that they did not learn the proper skills to equip themselves for the “real world.” These skills include integral practices like filing taxes, applying for a job, changing a tire, or budgeting expenses. This school year, however, Farmington High School implemented a new curriculum that teaches its students how the adult realm functions. It is called INCubatoredu-an honors entreprenuership course offered for select upperclassmen. This class is unlike any other, as the students within it have to formulate their own, authentic business plans and compete for money. That’s right-real money! At the conclusion of the academic year, the teams within INCubatoredu present their final business pitches and have the opportunity to earn support for their potential startup. It is not uncommon for these startups to be successful; many times past products from other INCubatoredu students throughout the nation are sold on Amazon even today! The best part about this curriculum? Farmington High School has established itself as the first school in the state of Missouri to participate in all INCubatoredu has to offer.

Currently, there are twelve students that are a part of the first INCubatoredu class in Missouri. These twelve students have then been assigned into three groups of four based on their personalities and leadership styles. At the start of the school year in late August, the three groups had to begin brainstorming potential business ideas. Afterwards, they presented their rough plan to a set of expert business men and women in an effort to discover who would act as their ideal mentor throughout the rest of the school year. Now, with only a month left of the first semester, these students have been working on calculating the prospective success of their businesses, marketing strategies, and other miscellaneous necessities. In early February the young entrepreneurs will present their initial pitch, and up until their final pitch in May they will continue to work on making their business plan as perfect and thorough as possible. The beauty of this curriculum is that it does not revolve around grades and test scores; rather, it acts as a direct real-world reflection of the cruciality of hard work and importance of goals and team building.

Mrs. Christy Pierce, the instructor and leader of this innovative dual credit curriculum, said that prior to teaching INCubatoredu, she taught a class where students came up with fictitious business plans. A few years ago, however, a group of FHS administrators toured a school district in Chicago and saw INCubatoredu in action. “They wanted FHS students to have this real life entrepreneurship experience,” Mrs. Pierce said. “Mr. Ruble and Dr. LaMonds were able to secure the program for our students and we launched it in the fall of 2021. We are the first school in the state of Missouri to offer this program!”

So far this semester, Mrs. Pierce is most proud of the initiative, drive, and innovative thinking her students have displayed. Pierce noted that INCubatoredu is rigorous and in-depth, but it is all worth it considering each student is getting to experience starting their own business.

Finally, Pierce happily noted, “I am most excited for our community to witness the hard work the students have been putting into their businesses, during our two pitch nights, to be held at the Centene Center. I could not be more proud of the first group of students going through INCubator and I know the Board of Directors will be as well.”

McKennah Wallace, a senior this year, said that she never knew anything about business prior to being a part of INCubatoredu. “I know business is something I need to experience before I become an adult and I’m out in the real world by myself,” she noted. Wallace continued, “I never knew how many processes we must take in order to produce and sell a product. I’ve learned a lot about the financial part of business.” Wallace also said that she’s excited to present in front of real business investors next semester. Her words of advice to those interested in taking the class next year included: “Take the class. Give business a shot. You may realize it’s a career you want to go into.” Wallace concluded that even if her business plan does not end up continuing after the academic year, she is grateful she has taken this class due to the knowledge and experience she has gained.

Cadence King, a junior, said that her interest in business began at a young age, as her parents are entrepreneurs. She likes how her parents have so many amazing opportunities, are able to travel and meet new people, and be their own bosses. King noted that INCubatoredu has taught her how to cope with the hardships of the business world and open her mind to others’ ideas and feedback. She feels as if she understands the business world better, and can comprehend the terminology used in “Shark Tank” and other business situations. King remarked on her excitement for the final pitch at the end of the year: “It’s so exciting because all the teams will be able to see their product actually come to life, and see all of their efforts paid off! Since the beginning of the school year we have all grown….” King mentioned that figuring out the legality of her team’s product has been challenging, but she has noticed some progress and improvement with the help of her teammates and mentors. Words of advice from King include to keep an open mind, ask questions, and stay curious. King is very confident and passionate about her team’s potential product, and she sees it expanding to several different demographics and audiences.

INCubatoredu is showing ample potential for future students and the community alike. Be on the lookout for the three businesses these teams are creating to come to life in the near future!

The twelve students a part of the first INCubatoredu class in Missouri are as follows:

Team 1
Peyton Ryan
Landon Reeder
Cadence King
Diep Phan

Team 2
McKennah Wallace
Carter Murray
Ethan Anderson
Mackenzie McAllister

Team 3
Kate Howard
Tessa Hand
Campbell Blum
Breanna Mathes