Where Entrepreneurship STARTS in High School



TALENT is an extra-curricular inquiry learning program helping Illinois high school students get new business ventures off the ground. The CoolHub.IMSA project space is used to promote events, encourage collaboration and communication with IMSA alumni, entrepreneurs and investors. Much of the prototyping work takes place outside CoolHub.IMSA in workshops, labs and focus groups.

Want to participate in TALENT online studies and events?

Monday Night Live Events

Join the TALENT Facebook Group

Play Ventures to Vultures

stage four protoype


Watch here for the Spring Internship Open House on an I.Day at 1871.


Questions every intern needs to answer:

What you did and for what company. Specific assignments and outcomes.
What you learned about being in a start up.
How you applied skills learned in school (assuming that happened).
What you needed to learn and how you did that.
Where you think this experience will lead you.
TALENT is an extracurricular program in entrepreneurship that offers a variety of opportunities for learning. Depending on whether you can only participate online or also in person, here are some choices:
Monday Night Live - Most Mondays during the school year from 8 - 9 pm at the IMSA campus and about half the sessions are streamed. Guests, group problem solving on topics of interest to start ups. First streamed session may be August 31.
TALENT Online - Self-paced learning modules on entrepreneurship: Lean Startup, Design Thinking, Business Model Canvas and Pitching is what we have now. You can complete these on your own with the help of online mentors.
Power Pitch - Annual competition for pitching business ideas to investors. Cash prizes. Usually held in April--date yet to be determined. Registration deadline is the end of January.
Summer Internships - Work for start ups at 1871 and around Chicago.
School Year Internships - Same as above but requires taking off one day a week to intern (usually for seniors).
Mentorships - If you have an idea for a business that needs assistance, a mentor may be assigned to advise you.

Quick Links




internshipstalent in a box  documents facebook

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Intern Recognition at 1871

Wednesday, May 20 from 1 - 2 pm, we'll gather in the Motorola Room at 1871 for dessert from the Chopping Block and a roundtable discussion concerning "what value was added by the internship experience this year?"

Workshop Idea Collector

idea wallLooking ahead to next school year, we're engaging in an idea collection round. Submit your idea for TALENT by commenting on this post.

Here's an example: A Workshop on Failure  - how to fail fast and learn from it. Avoiding failure stigma. Here's a helpful resource: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-power-of-asking-pivotal-questions/

Note how this suggestion comes with a resource!

Power Pitch Finalists


Register here to attend the Finals at 1871 on Monday, April 20, 6:30-8:30 pm

Eight teams are moving on to the Finals at 1871 on April 20 as a result of judges' scores and the two audience favorites:

CalcX, Evan Sun, Hector Correa - The $5.00 alternative to the $120 calculator

chu.com, Akash Palani, Vainius Normantas, Sagar Nattuvetty, Aneesh Kudaravalli, Joseph Palakeel - An app that helps users discover hidden restaurants with unique ways of preparing food that cater to personal tastes (an audience favorite)

Cobalt Fitness, August Nagro, Jon Reynolds, Nick Magerko - A fitness tracking platform that gets results by connecting personal trainers and clients

E-motion, Paul Rosa, Kevin Rosa, Rachel Rosa - An emotionally intelligent wristband that personalizes health care

Escape, Lydia Stone, Mitchell Sun, Joanne Lee - A personal alert device to escape peer pressure

ParaMouse, Ayan Agarwal, Anmol Nigam - A smartphone application which serves as a wireless, fully functional mouse for an computer

TranSound, Alexis Giff - Software that converts digital recordings into printable sheet music (an audience favorite)

Tweet Sense, William Widjaja - An engine that reads through social media posts like a human and generates accurate public opinions

Congratulations to everyone who participated! Pursue your idea.

Pitch Examples

prelimsPower Pitch Videos

Finals 2014


Anvil (3rd place)


Honor Code


ReWrite (2nd place)

SiftThru (1st place)

Business Model Canvas

canvasThere's almost nothing as elegant as the Business Model Canvas to sum up your business venture in one chart. The 9 Boxes that comprise the Canvas are useful organizers for pitches, making sure all the dots are connected. In a pitch, you are likely to touch on 4-5 boxes:

  • Value Proposition - what your product or service does and why customers would use it (as opposed to something available from a competitor)
  • Customer Segment - who are the customers who would use this? How many are there?
  • Customer Channels - How will you attract customers?
  • Key Activities - what do you have to do to get the product to market and into the hands of customers?
  • Revenue Streams - What is the size of the potential Market and how will some of this money come to you? How much money do you expect to make?

Look at some examples of canvases to see the level of detail that others use.

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