Think Like an Entrepreneur Summer Academy

  • Banner text: Think Like an Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TLAE). Image shows students in the program.

Think Like an Entrepreneur Summer Academy

The Think Like an Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TLAE) is a non-residential, educational experience for rising high school juniors and seniors recognized among AACSB's Innovations That Inspires for 2022. Participants earn 3 college credits equivalent to one college course of credit which can be used at Rowan or transferred for credit to another university.

Led by Dr. Michael Dominik and RCIE Assistant Director Jessica Vattima, the program teaches the entrepreneurial mindset by introducing students to unique and interesting problems facing entrepreneurs in starting and operating new ventures. Students are broken into teams at the start of the program and tasked with finding a solution to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Each day focuses on various topics including problem solving, customer discovery and engagement, design thinking, the Business Model Canvas, prototyping, financial analysis and resources, storytelling, and pitching. The Academy concludes with pitch presentations where teams present their idea to a panel of industry leading judges.

The Academy, typically spanning eight-days, started in 2017 with 24 NJ student participants and grew in 2018 to 48 NJ student participants and again in 2019 to 62 participants. In 2020, Rowan invited over 130 students from 7 states and 47 high schools to participate virtually. In-person teaching resumed in 2022, awarding it's 1,000th college credit hour. As of summer 2023, over 400 high school students have earned college credit through the the program.

Thanks to the generous support of the TD Charitable Foundation, participation in the academy is free of charge!

Quote: "The Think Like An Entrepreneur program was critical in bringing out my passion for business and entrepreneurship. Through the fundamental lessons I learned in the program I gained a new lens into finding opportunities in and outside the world of entrepreneurship and created long lasting friendships with my peers.    The Think Like An Entrepreneur program is a trailblazer program as it exposed me to the ideas of ESG before they were as popular as they are today. The program integrates the United Nations' SDGs into the thought process behind starting an entrepreneurial endeavor. Since then, I constantly find myself asking how the business I conduct is affecting the world around me." - Josh Ferrufino, program alum

RU ready to think like an entrepreneur? Applications are typically posted in March on StartupTree. Please contact Jessica Vattima ( for more information.