Program Overview

High school students will learn the art and science of planning and starting a business in this two-week intensive Summer College program. The primary adjective of the program is to help students develop the skills, knowledge, mindset, and global perspective they need to succeed as an entrepreneur or corporate innovator. Taught through a combination of small group discussions, guest lectures, online and hands-on learning tools, this program provides actionable content specifically designed to help students succeed in business. Flipping the classroom allows students to spend valuable class time working with peers and instructors to craft the perfect business plan. Students will walk away with a deeper understanding of global business systems and the functional importance of information technology.

Syracuse is by far the most memorable summer program I have attended. The upbeat welcome I received the minute I checked into my dorm set the tone for what was the best summer school experience of my life.  Whether debating realistic business ideas, or practicing how to pitch a business plan, in Launching a Business I met and became friends with people from all over the world. I learned how different cultures problem solve, and this, in turn, helped me to be a more open minded and flexible thinker. The best part of the program was the vigorous academic course-work; our professor was exceptional. Because he provided the right balance between theory and practice, my passion for launching a start-up was nurtured. He taught to all skill levels. It did not matter if you were a beginner just starting out, or had tons of experience, the program was adaptable so that everyone was inspired. I embraced the hard work and I even looked forward to going to class. Syracuse set me on fire. I came away with a solid foundation of how to develop a business plan. I learned to be an independent thinker, how to be a leader, and all the nuts and bolts necessary to launch my business idea.  -Joshua S., Summer College Launching a Business student, 2018.

Program Objectives

Taught by instructors from the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University, students will complete this course with valuable skills in entrepreneurship, management, communications, and professional readiness.

  • Entrepreneurship: problem identification, customer discovery, effectuation
  • Management: leadership, teamwork, strategic planning
  • Communications: public speaking, branding, product design, advertising, marketing
  • Professional Readiness: professional ethics and social responsibility

Learn more about Launching a Business: Strategic Leadership and Innovation:

Program Dates & Details Eligibility Requirements Program Cost Program Requirements Typical Day Faculty Bio

Program Dates & Details

Session Dates

Session II: July 13 – July 26, 2019
Duration: 2-weeks


Credit: Noncredit
Grading SystemPass/Fail

Eligibility Requirements

Students must be a minimum of 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date.  For full Summer College admission requirements, view the Admissions Overview and Eligibility page.

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Program Cost

Program Cost:

  • Residential: $3,360*
  • Commuter: $2,566*

*Please visit our Program Costs page for more detailed information. Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.

Program Requirements

Textbook & Materials

Students will need a copy of the book Effectual Entrepreneurship by Saras Sarasvathy. Students can choose to purchase the text before the program through a store of choice or at the SU Bookstore when arriving on campus.

Students will also be required to set up a Udacity account to access various online lectures from the course, How to Build a Startup. 

Student Expectations

Starting a company takes hard work and dedication, overcoming many obstacles along the way that are both technical and personal. Throughout the course, students will be expected to push themselves and their team members to achieve success by working collaboratively and communicating transparently. Tardiness to class and of the delivery of assignments is unacceptable, any such delay will negatively impact the students performance, dragging his or her business down in the process.

This is an academically rigorous, college-level program. Students are expected to complete nightly homework assignments and actively participate in group projects. Students are expected to attend all classes every day, arrive on time, and meet all academic obligations. Free time will vary as each program is unique, as is the subsequent workload.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

A typical day will run from 9:00am to 5:00pm with a one hour break for lunch (subject to change). Evening and weekend work will likely be required.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College trips and activities. Check out our Campus Activities page for more information!

Field Trips

Students from the Launching a Business course will visit the Syracuse University Outdoor Education Course to partake in an afternoon of team building activities on the low or high ropes course. This field trip is designed to help catalyze the startup bonding process by helping students better communicate with each other and build trust among founding members.

Major goals for this outing include:

  • Deep ice breaking
  • Comfortable trusting and communicating as a small unit
  • Understanding of strengths and weaknesses
  • General fun

End Event

The last day of class, Friday, July 26, 2019 will be a celebration, as students will engage in a final presentation that will showcase their proposed business ideas. Parents are welcome to attend!

Final Academic Obligation

Students are permitted to leave on Friday, July 26, 2019 after 4:30pm upon the completion of the end event. If students have any questions regarding their final academic obligation, we encourage them to reach out to their instructor. Please refer to the Move-Out page for important information regarding the checkout process.

Faculty Bios

Braden Croy

Braden currently serves as the Program Manager at the Blackstone LaunchPad, a cross-campus entrepreneurship resource center located in SU’s Bird Library. In this role, he is responsible for both tactical and strategic implementation of the center’s go-to-market strategy. He straddles internal and external communication functions while serving as a liaison between various campus partners. He works daily with student, faculty, and staff startups to help them launch successful businesses across multiple industries and disciplines.

He previously served as Marketing Manager at tuzag, a Syracuse based behavioral marketing technology firm. Within the university environment, Braden served as Director of NEXIS, a student based innovation lab at Syracuse University, where he was responsible for restructuring the labs operations and increasing student engagement across campus. He also served as Assistant Director of the Syracuse Student Sandbox, educating students and consulting for colleges and communities around the world looking to better serve their entrepreneur populations.

Croy holds a B.A. in Human Geography from Virginia Tech and used his time in school to study international development methodologies. While at Virginia Tech, he founded his own ed-tech company and served as President of the Virginia Tech entrepreneur club. His company, Pivotal Testing, was recognized as one of the top 50 most innovative student startups in the world by the Kairos Society in 2013.

About the Blackstone LaunchPad

The Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University is the University’s newest entrepreneur resource center. Located in Bird Library, the LaunchPad serves a diverse population of student, staff, faculty, and alumni entrepreneurs looking to start and grow a business.

Since opening its doors in April of 2016, the LaunchPad has helped over 2,200 entrepreneurs launch more than 350 ventures, collectively winning over $320,000 in business competitions and raising over $3 Million in investment capital. During that same time, the LaunchPad has played host to many highly regarded guest speakers and has helped 45 ventures form into legally incorporated entities with significant growth potential.

Fundamentally, the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University believes that entrepreneurs are stronger together, working hard to build a community of creatives and disrupters. Through peer-to-peer mentoring and venture coaching, the LaunchPad helps turn anyone’s idea into a model business. With support from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Blackstone Group, the LaunchPad’s international network is waiting for you to join.