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Academics & Arts


Innovation is a critical part of each girl’s experience at Laurel. We believe an entrepreneurial mindset develops the leadership, problem-solving and self-advocacy skills necessary for success.
Our students solve real-world problems through competing in business plan competitions, starting companies and working with local businesses. Whether running our student coffee business, pitching the next big idea in the Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum thinkBIG! Summit, or interning with an entrepreneur, there are endless ways for each girl to find her voice.

Laurel's Curricular Braid

Entrepreneurship, along with civic engagement, global studies and STEAM, is one of the themes woven through Laurel’s Curricular Braid that sets the foundation for the Kindergarten-Grade 12 academic program. In Primary and Middle School, each year highlights two different strands of the curricular braid preparing girls for life in Laurel’s Upper School where the braid continues to weave throughout the academic program to graduation. Entrepreneurship is featured in age-appropriate ways in Third Grade, Fifth Grade and Eighth Grade. In Upper School, girls are given the opportunity to create their own entrepreneurship path through Laurel’s signature initiatives: the Protégé Internship Program and the Capstone Scholars Program.
Examples of Laurel girls excelling in entrepreneurship include:

One Coffee Circle

In partnership with Cleveland Coffee, this student-run coffee roasting business is part of our programming in the Upper School. Laurel girls travel to Cleveland Coffee’s production facility to handle every aspect of the business including coffee roasting, IT, marketing and accounting.

Protégé Internships

Laurel Upper School students may pursue their passions by interning with local businesses through the Protégé Program. Each semester, girls intern in industries such as medicine, law, architecture, banking and non-profits.

The Capstone Experience

The entrepreneurship cohort of Laurel’s Capstone Experience enables students to develop an entrepreneurship project through guided research and purposeful travel. Girls work with a mentor to thoughtfully examine an aspect of entrepreneurship. Additionally, girls travel to entrepreneurial hotbeds such as Seattle and San Francisco to meet with leaders in innovation.

Veale Foundation

Upper School students compete in the Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum thinkBIG! Challenge business plan competition. Past entries include an organic cleaning solution, clothing company for people with physical disabilities and a translation app. Additionally, Laurel girls annually attend the Dare to Dream Retreat at John Carroll University which examines the unique challenges faced by female entrepreneurs.

Laurel Shark Tank

This business plan competition for Upper School girls invites Laurel alumnae to serve as judges. Students present detailed business plans and compete for cash prizes. A Tenth Grader won in 2020 with her plan for Flufl & Co., a company which creates stuffed animals which may be easily cleaned and sanitized.

Young Entrepreneur Institute Pitch Contest

Entrepreneurship at Laurel is open to every age. Primary, Middle and Upper School students participate in the Young Entrepreneur Institute Pitch Contest annually. Each contestant must present a business idea via an elevator pitch. A Laurel student recently won the competition with her pitch for a digital checklist which can be attached to a backpack.

Social Entrepreneurship

Our students use entrepreneurship as a tool to improve the community. Middle School students have opened pop-up shops to sell jewelry and soap and directed the proceeds to service projects. Additionally, our Fifth Grade Green Gator City project at the Butler Campus challenges students to examine environmentally conscious business practices.

Principles of Entrepreneurship

This Upper School elective course provides an overview of the business world while teaching entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy. Students craft business plans, pitch ideas and compete in entrepreneurship competitions. Laurel’s Collaboratory and 150-acre Butler Campus are incorporated into the class to allow for hands-on learning.

Student Businesses

Laurel faculty members provide mentorship for students who choose to start a business. Businesses have included Textsaver, a digital study guide publisher and AltrucTec which developed a virtual reality experience for people with dementia.

Student Investment Committee

Generously supported by Gries Financial Partners, this group manages a $10,000 investment fund. Girls learn how to research investments and manage a portfolio under the guidance of Laurel alumnae and parents. 
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