A group of six high school students will need according to their business plan at least $170,000 to design, manufacture and market The Pulse, a special fitness watch that gives a wearer special fitness offers.
With that money, they will be able to operate their business, FitTech Inc., for at least a year. But it will not pay any of them a salary; they plan to sleep on futons in the office for a while.
The students are part of the Governor’s School for Information Technology Leadership at Tennessee Tech University and though they will not actually start the business outlined in their plan, they all say they want the bragging rights that will come if their plan is recognized as the best by program faculty and local business owners.
“I want to be a business major; this program has reinforced that,” said Rebecca Jacks, a junior at Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tenn. “I love that you experience all the aspects of something before you create it. It almost becomes a product of yourself because you put so much energy into it.”
Jacks and her five teammates are among the 36 high school students selected from about 100 applications to participate in the Governor’s School at TTU this summer.
“It’s a very unique experience and it gives them a good idea of what their college experience will be like,” said Curtis Armstrong, chairperson of the TTU decision sciences and management department. “It gets them excited about college and of course we hope they decide to come back to Tech.”
For five weeks, the students live in TTU dorms, take two TTU classes and learn how to write a business plan. At the end, they leave with six hours of college credits.
“They are treated, as much as they can be, like college students,” Armstrong said.
This is the ninth year the Governor’s School for IT Leadership has been offered at TTU. A second school, Emerging Technologies, is also being held at TTU’s campus this summer. Twelve schools, each held on a university campus, are scattered throughout the state.