University Economic Development Association


BOSS, Business Opportunities for Self-Starters

Award Category: Innovation + Talent
Project Site: BOSS, Business Opportunities for Self-Starters
Submitted By: Indiana University East
Contact: Tim Scales , 765.973.8620


How do you get young high school students to want to study business and economics?  Have them become a BOSS.  The BOSS program is a 54 hour curriculum developed to teach high school students how to create a business plan.  As students create their individual plans, they are inspired and encouraged to research a variety of areas of business such as possible locations, pricing of advertising and promotion, management and personnel, manufacturing and many other important resources.  Students are introduced to community leaders such as the Chamber of Commerce, Regional Economic Development, Small Business Development Corporation, financial institutions and insurance agencies. Students practice elevator speeches to promote their idea and they give a “Shark Tank” type of presentation to a group of judges.

The BOSS program is administrated through the Center for Entrepreneurship.  High school teachers are trained in a three day training program and they are able to teach the BOSS program and are assisted by the university faculty.  Some regional high schools have utilized the BOSS program in their high school curriculum, and the BOSS program is also utilized as a summer camp for students.  Instructors have shared that some students’ GPAs have increased as a result of learning how to apply business research in the BOSS program.  One example of a successful student business plan is the student from the BOSS program started his construction business and he now has 23 employees making between $16 – $32 an hour.  The student is now 19 years old.

Finalist Presentation

UEDA Awards of Excellence Finalists presented at the Annual Summit in Long Beach on October 2-3, 2017. Summit attendees then voted for the best initiative in each category.