Fostering Entrepreneurship at CDS: Nurturing the Next Generation of Innovators

The concept of entrepreneurship isn't just reserved for business—it's a mindset that can be cultivated from an early age. Throughout Carrollwood Day School, entrepreneurial thinking is a part of the curriculum from Preschool to Upper School. As part of its commitment to building self-esteem, independence, and problem-solving skills, we emphasize teaching confidence through daily tasks as well as nurturing the risk-taking spirit necessary to start a business.

The CDS Entrepreneurship program's mission is to create not only astute problem solvers and innovators but individuals with a global outlook, dedicated to continuing their service to society. It begins by teaching the basics of creative thought to our youngest patriots in the Early Childhood Center. All throughout Elementary and Middle School, their skills in critical thinking and interacting with others are further augmented until they reach Upper School. At this point, our students have developed the full capacity for solving problems and obtaining investments via ideation, maturation, and pitching.

This month at CDS, both Upper School Entrepreneurship Advanced classes and the Entrepreneurship Intro 9th-grade students eagerly participated in various activities that allowed them to showcase their creative potential and entrepreneurial flair. From the Entrepreneurship Forum, where students presented their business pitch proposals to industry experts, to the simulation in which 9th-grade students develop innovative business concepts for a shopping district, the enthusiasm, and ingenuity displayed by these young entrepreneurs are truly remarkable.

The highlight of the month was the Entrepreneurship Forum held on May 1st. This event brought together the Entrepreneurship Advanced classes, experts from the USF Entrepreneurship Center, and esteemed business leaders to provide valuable feedback and guidance to the students. The objective was to simulate a real-world scenario where students presented their business pitch proposals, seeking insights from experienced professionals who played the role of startup business consultants.


The list of experts present at the forum was impressive - see below.

University of South Florida Entrepreneurship Center:

Dr. Dick Libaers

Dr. Lin Jiang

Dr. Lei Zhang


University of South Florida Entrepreneurship Startup Incubator:

Frank Nunez

Keren Soto

Freeman Wouoto

CDS Students were also supported and engaged by Larry Pitman, CDS CFO, and faculty members Lindsey Montague, Catherine McKinney, and Sheri Alan from the Business, Design, and Art Departments.

Our CDS Patriots had dedicated months of their time to perfecting their business pitches, spanning from product development and manufacturing to retail and service-based businesses. Their creativity was displayed through the vast diversity of ideas presented, such as a candle business, bakery, coffee shop/bookstore, mobile cat grooming service, a female fitness gym and pet photography venture. There were also athletic-oriented businesses like shoe production and performance/training facilities. Evident in these proposals was our students' ability to think outside the box. 

While the Entrepreneurship Advanced classes were engaged in the forum, the 9th-grade students were equally immersed in their own entrepreneurial journey. They took part in a simulation where they developed business concepts for an upcoming shopping district. Using the Lean Business Canvas Model, the students crafted innovative business pitches aligned with the district's vision. Their ideas encompassed a wide range of establishments, including coffee shops, gyms, tutoring centers, smoothie shops, beauty spas, and nail bars. Some of the concepts emphasized sustainable entrepreneurship elements, while others focused on building a strong sense of community.

The simulation culminated with our CDS students presenting their pitches to the "city council", which was responsible for selecting the businesses that would launch within the new district. This exercise not only honed the students' presentation skills but also instilled a sense of responsibility and accountability as they experienced the practical aspects of entrepreneurship.

Our commitment to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among our students at CDS is commendable. By providing opportunities for them to explore their creativity, develop business acumen, and interact with industry professionals, we are preparing the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers. These experiences not only equip them with valuable skills but also instill confidence, resilience, and a mindset of continuous learning. As we look ahead, it is exciting to envision the impact these budding entrepreneurs will have on the business landscape in the years to come. CDS has laid a strong foundation for their future success, and we eagerly anticipate the remarkable ventures these students will undertake as they continue to nurture their entrepreneurial dreams.