A new home for student entrepreneurs and innovators is coming to Williamson County Schools in the fall of 2019.
Housed in a newly-renovated 10,000-square-foot facility adjacent to Franklin High School, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (EIC) will be open to all Williamson County high school students who have an interest in starting a business, developing a product or providing a service.
“We are tapping into the incredible potential of our students and the power of our county’s thriving business community to create something special,” said Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney. “This is a big idea. We believe we can be a national leader for entrepreneurship education at the high school level.”
The EIC concept responds to three key needs: booming student interest in entrepreneurism, an increasing number of colleges offering entrepreneurship education and job market demand for those who have an entrepreneurial mindset.
The business community is essential to the EIC model, and leaders are already stepping forward. A nonprofit organization has been established to support the EIC by recruiting mentors, raising funds and creating connections with industry. Jay Chawan, co-founder of Brentwood-based Guy Brown, Swiftwick and GBI is leading the group.
“The skills and habits of an entrepreneur are invaluable in today’s economy,” Chawan said. “The EIC will be a catalyst for our students and our schools, both of which are already among the best in the nation. The business community is excited about this idea, and we are ready to step forward as active partners in making it a success.”
Plans are well underway for the 2019 opening of the center. The program is being established, mentors are being recruited, equipment needs are being determined and the district expects to hire the inaugural EIC director in the coming weeks.
Each school has named student and teacher “Building Champions” who will work with the director and the district to make sure there is a strong connection between each school and the EIC. More information on the EIC and plans for the coming months can be found at the center’s website, Support EIC.