The Entrepreneurial Studies program at Hawken includes yet transcends business skills. The semester program is housed at The Sally & Bob Gries Center for Experiential and Service Learning, which serves as the School’s urban extension campus in Cleveland’s University Circle. The course is designed as a forward-focused, interdisciplinary, honors-level class for juniors and seniors, with students earning 3 Honors credits. The curriculum fosters not only an entrepreneurial mindset rooted in experiential learning, but does so in cross-disciplinary immersion that is seamless and organic.

In Hawken’s semester course, real businesses give student teams real and urgent startup-related problems, with student teams delivering their final solutions to CEOs three weeks later. After working on two to three real business problems involving new venture creation, students build their own startups. The course incorporates the Lean LaunchPad (LLP) methodology, developed by serial-entrepreneur and academician Steve Blank.  The course uses LLP to provide the scientific method made actionable for today, when nothing is predictable. Students get out of the building to conduct interviews as they test their hypotheses. They learn techniques for innovation, analytical approaches to research, and evidence based systems for decision-making. The course also integrates Design Thinking, with students learning skills such as observing, interviewing, discovering problems, and forming solutions using rapid prototyping – all while working in the field. Teams seek solutions to the real business problems with hard deliverables and deadlines.

Hawken’s Entrepreneurial Studies program engages students and cultivates their creativity and problem-solving skills through active learning. Students benefit because they learn to think critically, make well-informed decisions, innovate, and communicate effectively in today’s high-tech, fast changing world. They learn finance, statistics, industry knowledge and writing. They also learn how to bring their strengths to a team, how to prioritize and manage time, and how to navigate conflict. The class develops character, intellect and resilience. Students grow in a safe learning environment where they experiment, fail and succeed.


  • The Hawken Entrepreneurship students did extensive work for me in defining viable channels for BoxCast. Because the students fundamentally understand the real challenges that engulf a lean startup, they were able to quickly set-up and test hypotheses allowing Boxcast to cover more ground and move more quickly toward success. As a co-founder, I was so impressed that I made available a paid internship that is usually reserved for college students.
    Gordon Daily, Co-Founder, Boxcast

Develop a Mindset

Hawken students develop an entrepreneur's mindset by getting inside real entrepreneur's brains and finding out how they do what they do. Next, they solve entrepreneur's real-life problems. All this prepares them to develop their own business models.

Solve Problems

When resources are limited, entrepreneurs from near and far turn to Hawken students for help in solving complex problems and fixing what's broken.

Use New Tools

Discover a host of new tools on our website. Links to leaders in entrepreneurial education, slidedecks, videos, reading materials and more.