This summer, the Iacocca Institute built on its two decades of success running a summer leadership program for high school students to launch a spin-off on the West Coast: Iacocca Global Entrepreneurship Intensive San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
This summer, the Iacocca Institute built on its two decades of success running summer leadership programs for high school students to launch a spin-off on the West Coast: Iacocca Global Entrepreneurship Intensive San Francisco and Silicon Valley (IGEI-SF).
IGEI-SF draws from the Institute’s strengths in innovative leadership and cross-cultural learning experiences on Lehigh’s campus and around the world, and highlights collaboration with Lehigh@NasdaqCenter, an academic-in-residence partnership between Lehigh University and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that provides education, mentorship and resources to entrepreneurs.
For two intense weeks in August, 11 students from four countries and four U.S. states immersed in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Bay Area, learning about entrepreneurship and leadership at the Lehigh@NasdaqCenter, an extension of Lehigh’s campus in San Francisco. Students visited high-profile area organizations such as Google, Salesforce and Autodesk; met with local entrepreneurs, investors and leaders of social ventures; and participated in design thinking and other interactive workshops. They completed a day of community service and experienced local culture, including visits to a variety of San Francisco neighborhoods, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Jazz, and daily transportation on city trains and buses for the full urban experience.
As in all Iacocca Institute programs, IGEI-SF students completed real-world consulting projects, in this case design challenges from clients across the globe, drawn from the Institute’s Global Village alumni network. The students worked in two teams: one addressing infrastructure and environmental issues in the Andean highlands of Peru and the other identifying target markets and affiliates for a cultural tourism start-up in Ukraine, making the program a truly global experience. Using the Lehigh@NasdaqCenter’s technology capabilities for effective virtual client-consultant meetings, the students met with and presented to their clients overseas.
“The students learn through intense, in-person teamwork with their peers from other countries; and, at the same time, they are able to practice working and communicating virtually with their clients in other parts of the world,” says Kira Mendez, director of the Iacocca Institute.
IGEI-SF students, like other Institute program participants, benefit from the Institute’s vast global networks, as well as those of other collaborators throughout Lehigh and its own partner network. Connections to the many organizations, entrepreneurs and professionals involved in IGEI SF came through alumni and faculty and staff, the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation, Lehigh@NasdaqCenter, and Lehigh’s West Coast office, among others.
Indeed, the importance of diverse and far-reaching networks is one of the core values embedded in all Institute leadership experiences, according to Mendez.
“We know that the leaders of today and tomorrow must have the ability to work across boundaries of all kinds and bring diverse people together to create real impact,” she says. “IGEI experiences offer powerful opportunities for young students to build their entrepreneurial leadership capabilities, connect to others across the globe and begin to create their own future networks.”
Applications are now open for the 2019 Iacocca Global Entrepreneurship Intensive San Francisco and Silicon Valley program, which will run July 20-August 2, 2019. Visit the website to learn more.