Students discuss solutions to problems after student pitches on Tuesday in Münster.
Although each student will come up with their own problem, they will ultimately work in groups, so LaFlech had them put their three main problems in order after they were all presented.
The class is project-based learning that takes students on a whole journey of starting a business. In the end, according to LaFlech, there will be a “Shark Tank” -style competition and the chance to take part in a national pitch competition to potentially win entry fees.
To participate in the program, students had to have attended four business classes, so most of the 40 or so students are juniors and seniors. LaFlech said the Incubator is considered a graduate entrepreneurship course by Indiana standards.
In the incubator, students are treated more like employees than students. Every day they go over their progress from the previous day and report to LaFlech as if she were their boss and not their teacher.
The space itself is also designed to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset. There are five sets of tables and chairs, each with 40-inch screens. Two think tanks – or conference rooms – have 75-inch flat-screen TVs for students to meet with mentors or hold other meetings.
The incubator classroom offers two private think tank rooms for private discussions.
LaFlech works in what she calls the “Brain Bar” where students can talk to her, do research or just take a brain break. Students can only ask for help if they “ask three” first, be it a mentor, data, or research. She wants them to get out of their comfort zone to find answers on their own.