Enterprising students innovate for future

Business class helps NC students learn important business skills


Reagan Pohl

INCubator students Gabby Luburic ‘23 and Lindsay Hammond ‘23 pitch their business plan to business professionals during class (Photo courtesy of Hammond).

INCubatoredu is a year-long business course, available to juniors and seniors, that provides students with an authentic entrepreneurial experience as they work to create their own service or product to satisfy unmet needs they have observed in their own community. This class promotes creativity, cooperation, and thoughtful analysis, while providing students with access to accomplished entrepreneurs as mentors to assist them.

INCubator teacher Krista Wilcox believes this program–first offered in fall of 2019–offers students a unique classroom opportunity with plenty of freedom to learn essential professional skills they can apply in any career they choose.

“I hope that students leave with skills that enable and empower them to collaborate with others and learn how to use the resources that they have available to them,” Wilcox said. 

The class mimics several kinds of business situations to teach students how to handle the dynamics of a real marketplace and how it will respond to a particular product, Wilcox said. Student teams must work collaboratively to research, adjust, and improve their companies.

“On a typical class day, we might take lecture notes, work on mini assignments that contribute to our larger overall business plan, or just work in small groups to further develop our business,” Catalina Niego ‘24 said.  

During the first semester, students were focused on creating their “shark-tank” style pitch to potential investors, known as the minimum viable product pitch. It was centered around money management and financials, while the second semester is more oriented on acquiring social networking tools and emphasizing the crucial relationships required to bring your product or service to life, Niego said.

“I think students should take the class even if you don’t have an interest in business because all the skills you learn throughout this class are things you will use in the real world,” Lindsay Hammond ‘23 said. “I’ve never questioned whether or not I’d use the skills I have learned from this class in the real world.”

The wonderful thing about this class is that it is not only for students who are interested in business, but for anyone seeking vital skills such as problem-solving techniques, collaboration, and perseverance, Wilcox said. This course simulates a real-life business environment, and it gives students insight into what life beyond college may be like. 

“One message I will take away from this class is something that Mrs. Wilcox has very much emphasized, and that is that failure is okay,” Hammond said. “You don’t need to succeed in order to learn from your experiences.”