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Through an entrepreneurial work-based learning experience students apply classroom learning to organization and operation of a business as an entrepreneur. They assume all risks in expectation of gaining profit and/or further knowledge.

School credit CANNOT be earned for entrepreneurial experiences (State Board Policy, CTED-003, June 2000). It may be possible to turn the Entrepreneurial Experience into an Internship in order to receive course credit.

Entrepreneurship includes organizing, managing, and assuming the risk of a business or enterprise. In this type of work-based learning, the student owns and operates a small business.


The ultimate outcome would be to increase the level of knowledge and proficiency in running a business and to provide an opportunity for potential profit. An entrepreneurial work-based experience should be a capstone experience for a student who has developed career and technical skills that he/she desires to use in a personal business venture. The student may have developed the business plan for their business in an entrepreneurship course. This entrepreneurial experience should complement the student's career objective.

The entrepreneurial experience must be planned and supervised by the school and an adult mentor so that the experience contributes to the student's career objective/major and employability. Written business plans showing the business to be developed and the training opportunities to be gained must be in place prior to the experience beginning and should be updated periodically.

The entrepreneurial experience may fulfill requirements for a senior exit/graduation project that is done to demonstrate how the student is applying the academic preparation for his/her future. Some career and technical student organizations (CTSO) allow students to gain recognition for entrepreneurial efforts. It may be a supervised occupational experience, or it may be an entrepreneurial effort that is reported within the guidelines of the CTSO.

The entrepreneurial experience may be short term by concentrating on one or a small number of learning competencies, or it may be a long-term experience that includes additional competencies that are learned over a period of a year or more.

The entrepreneurial experience should be planned so that there is adequate time for the effort and time to interact with a business mentor in order to maximize the benefits of the entrepreneurial experience. Some examples of entrepreneurial experiences in high schools include a gift boutique, a catering service, a placement project, a pet sitting service, lawn care service, a shirt silk-screening service, a productive enterprise project, and a personal shopper's service.

Entrepreneurship, where the student actually owns an enterprise, is a valuable work-based learning strategy. The student gains not only work-place skills, but develops an understanding of how to actually manage a small business enterprise as he/she assumes all of the risks and is responsible for all decisions.


  1. Determine the goals of the learning experiences that can be accomplished through entrepreneurial experiences.
  2. Determine under what conditions a student will be allowed to organize an entrepreneurial venture to meet work-based learning requirements.
    • Will students be allowed this option or must a student's career plan indicate that he/she has been pursuing preparation to become an entrepreneur?
    • Must the student be enrolled in a complimentary course or will a school advisor be assigned to work with a student's entrepreneurial experience that may not be one of the student’s instructors?
  3. Determine the components of entrepreneurial experience.
    • Will the student have to develop a business plan as a part of the experience, or will the student develop the business plan prior to the entrepreneurial work-based learning experience?
    • Must the business plan development come in a course such as Entrepreneurship, or can it be developed independently of a course?
    • Must the business plan be reviewed by a business mentor as part of the planning for the experience?
    • Must the student find a business mentor, or will the school select the entrepreneurship mentor?
  4. Design a system for evaluating the experience.
    • Which partners - business mentor, school, and/or student will evaluate the experience?
    • How will students be rewarded for successful completion of the entrepreneurship experience? (course credit is not allowed)
    • Will a standard evaluation form be used to monitor the success of each students' entrepreneurial experience?
  5. Develop a written agreement with all partners, to include but not limited to student, parents, business mentor, and the teacher coordinator.
  6. Work with the school's legal counsel to ensure that the student's experience is conducted in compliance with all legal requirements.
  7. Determine which school staff members have the broad knowledge of business and business management skills to assist students as they venture into an entrepreneurial experience.
  8. Develop the application process for interested students to follow in getting their entrepreneurial experience approved and started.


Student Participation Requests/Applications
Students and mentors need to apply to be part of the work-based learning program.

  • "I want to enter the internship program because..." - shared by the Southern Regional Education Board
    (doc, 24kb)
  • Internship Program - Student Approval Notice - Shared by the Catawba Technology Education Consortium
    (doc, 24kb)
  • Mentor Application - Shared from the Job Ready Work-based Learning Guide
    (doc, 39kb)
  • Work-Based Learning Student Application Form - shared from McHenry County, South Carolina
    (doc, 39kb)
  • Apprenticeship Application - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
    (pdf, 435kb)
  • Apprenticeship Application - Guilford County Schools
    (pdf, 431kb)

Training Agreements/Parent Permissions
Training agreements outline the rules and responsibilities of students, parents, employers, teacher-coordinators and school administration. Coordinators should obtain signatures of all parties involved in cooperative education before the end-of –schedule change period. In addition, students should be required to obtain signatures of parents and employers to ensure that all parties are aware of their involvement in the program. Once all signatures have been obtained, students and employers should receive a signed copy, which should be kept on file at a student’s school.

  • Parental Permission Agreement - shared by the Job Ready Work Based Learning Guide
    (doc, 34kb)
  • Parent/Guardian Work-Based Learning Sample Permission Form -shared from the South Carolina Department of Education
    (doc, 35kb)
  • Sample Training Agreement/Training Plan - shared from the Nebraska Department of Education.
    (doc, 40kb)
  • Apprenticeship Training Agreement - shared by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
    (pdf, 440kb)
  • Cooperative Education Training Agreement
    (doc, 34kb)
  • Work-Based Learning Agreement - shared by McHenry County, South Carolina
    (doc, 43kb)