The Fortuner Hub


Laurie Stach - Founder

LaunchX gives students the skills and mindset to start real companies

The world of entrepreneurship has witnessed a significant shift in recent years, with a growing emphasis on nurturing the next generation of innovators. LaunchX, an educational institution, stands out as a pioneer in this field, focusing not just on the creation of successful companies but on the development of entrepreneurs themselves. This comprehensive guide delves into the journey of LaunchX, its evolution, and the various programs it offers to high school students.

The Founding of LaunchX

In 2012, Laurie Stach founded LaunchX with the vision of providing high school students with a summer program that would equip them with the entrepreneurial mindset. The first year of the summer program was held in 2013, and it began its journey under the name Launch Summer Program, with a single location at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Growth and Collaboration with MIT

By 2014, Laurie and the Launchx program were invited to become part of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. This collaboration allowed the program to leverage the resources and expertise of MIT, further solidifying its position in the world of high school entrepreneurship education.

Expansion and Growth

Recognizing the growing demand for such programs, Laurie and her team decided to leave the Trust Center in 2016 to expand to additional universities. This move led to the growth of LaunchX in the following years, with an increasing number of locations and students participating in the program.

The Online Pivot

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LaunchX transitioned its summer program online. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the program continued to grow, with record applications and positive feedback from students. LaunchX successfully adapted to the new reality, leveraging the advantages of online learning.

Innovation and Expansion

In 2023, LaunchX introduced the Innovation Program, where students partnered with existing businesses and enterprises to solve real-world problems. This marked a significant milestone in the institution’s journey, offering 4 programs throughout the summer and reaching its largest number of Launchies yet.

Today and Beyond

Today, LaunchX continues to innovate and expand its programs, providing high school students with practical, hands-on entrepreneurial experiences. The institution remains committed to its mission of fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs, and it eagerly awaits the participation of more young minds in its programs.

Ann Arbor Entrepreneurship

One of LaunchX’s offerings is the Ann Arbor Summer Entrepreneurship Program. This immersive experience allows students to gain practicalknowledge in entrepreneurship and business development. The program is held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is designed for high school students who are passionate about innovation, problem-solving, and creating their own ventures.

Key Features of the Ann Arbor Summer Entrepreneurship Program:

Collaborative Learning Environment: The program encourages students to work in diverse teams, fostering collaboration and teamwork. Participants learn from their peers and mentors, creating a supportive network that lasts beyond the program.

Hands-On Experience: The Ann Arbor Summer Entrepreneurship Program offers students the opportunity to develop their ideas into viable business plans. Through workshops, guest lectures, and mentorship, students gain practical skills in market research, prototyping, and pitching their ideas.

Exposure to Industry Experts: The program invites entrepreneurs, investors, and business professionals as guest speakers. These experts share their experiences and insights, providing students with valuable perspectives on entrepreneurship and the business world.

Access to Resources and Networks:LaunchX connects students with resources and networks that can help them continue their entrepreneurial journey. Participants have access to alumni networks, mentors, and potential investors, fostering long-term growth and support.

Personalized Mentorship: Students receive guidance from experienced entrepreneurs and mentors throughout the program. These mentors help students refine their ideas, develop their business plans, and prepare for the final pitch competition.

Final Pitch Competition: The Ann Arbor Summer Entrepreneurship Program culminates in a pitch competition, where students present their business ideas to a panel of judges. This opportunity helps students develop essential presentation and communication skills, preparing them for real-world entrepreneurial challenges.

Life-Long Learning and Growth: The program emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and personal growth. Students are encouraged to embrace failure as an opportunity for growth and improvement, fostering a resilient entrepreneurial mindset.

Diverse and Inclusive Environment:LaunchX values and promotes a diverse and inclusive environment, welcoming students from various backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. This diverse environment encourages creativity, innovation, and empathy in entrepreneurship.

Short bio of Laurie Stach, Founder of LaunchX

Laurie Stach is a seasoned entrepreneurship educator with a diverse background in various fields. She is the founder of an entrepreneurship education startup aimed at teaching entrepreneurial skills to high school students. Additionally, Laurie has established a maker space and developed and taught a making course at MIT. Prior to her work in education, she gained experience in operations consulting at the Boston Consulting Group and worked as an engineer in product design at BMW’s design studio. Laurie holds an MBA from HBS and studied Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

Her primary motivation lies in utilizing entrepreneurship as a vehicle to impart innovation and problem-solving skills to students. She aims to equip them with practical abilities, enabling them to “prototype” their careers and make a tangible impact at an earlier stage in their lives.

“We bring ambitious young entrepreneurs together from around the globe to build a startup on a team of peer founders.”