Online Entrepreneurship Institute
for Middle & High School Teachers

PART A: Entrepreneurial Mindset

Feb 19Mar 22, 2024*

25 Hours of Professional Development
(5 Weeks)

5 Zoom Classes on Thursdays from 7:00-9:00pm ET**
Feb 22, 29, Mar 7, 14, 21

PART B: Business Plan

Apr 8 – May 17, 2024*

30 Hours of Professional Development
(6 Weeks) 

6 Zoom Classes on Thursdays from 7:00-9:00pm ET
Apr 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16

BREAK March 25 - April 5

*Requires about 5 hours of work/week and optional work-ahead reading list provided 2 weeks in advance.

**Class recordings are also available.

Using experiential learning theory and a free field-tested curriculum,
middle and high school teachers simultaneously learn entrepreneurship content and instructional best-practices by reviewing classroom-ready resources and completing Institute assignments that they can turnaround and use with their students with
little to no further preparation. 

Certified Entrepreneurship Educator credential, Certificate of Completion, and Digital Badge included

400+ Free, online resources for teaching entrepreneurship (articles, videos, podcasts, lessons, textbook, PPT, etc.)

Real-world context for teaching CTE courses and career pathways while developing workplace readiness skills

Zoom breakout groups for national
networking, collaboration,
resource sharing, and lesson planning

Prepare students for the new Innovation & Gig Economy!

The Innovation and Gig Economy requires students to graduate with an entrepreneurial mindset (opportunity recognition, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, innovation, initiative, collaboration, etc.) even if they do not start their own business. 40% of Americans have a side hustle and nearly 50% of today’s youth say they intend to start their own business someday. Entrepreneurial skills are an increasingly essential part of workforce development and overlap with the workplace readiness skills employers say they want in new hires in a rapidly changing workplace. Communities also thrive when its members are empowered to become change agents by offering business-centered solutions to unmet community needs.


Moreover, entrepreneurial skills are transferable life skills that are real game-changers for disenfranchised youth living in impoverished areas because they develop intrinsic motivation, growth mindset, resourcefulness, adaptability, resiliency, calculated risk-taking, and agency—to name a few. Even starting simple side hustles requiring minimal start-up costs to earn additional income offers freedom, hope, and empowerment via more personally fulfilling careers while capitalizing on and affirming existing skills and talents.


Highly adaptable and multidisciplinary, entrepreneurship knowledge, skills, and mindsets seamlessly integrate across grades, core academic subjects, and CTE courses so students have the option to own their own business in any career pathway. These skills are also correlated to higher rates of college enrollment, higher earnings, and job satisfaction. Additionally, using entrepreneurship as a real-world instructional context optimizes student engagement and motivation by unleashing students’ potential to pursue their own unique interests, hobbies, and passions in the classroom.


Using experiential learning and a field-tested curriculum, Institute participants simultaneously learn basic entrepreneurship content and instructional best-practices by reviewing classroom-ready resources (news articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, textbooks, lessons, PPT slides, test bank, etc.) and completing assignments that they can turnaround and use with their students with little to no further preparation. Easily customizable, the Institute content is extremely flexible and accessible to middle and high school students using inquiry, performance, and project-based learning objectives. Online modules are self-paced and live Zoom classes feature introductions to supportive community partners, grassroots entrepreneurs who share "lessons learned," and breakout groups for national networking, collaboration, resource sharing, and lesson planning. Practical module assignments result in a collection of co-created lessons (Part A) and a business plan first draft (Part B) to inspire creative strategies for high quality education and self/employment outcomes. Entrepreneurship Educator Certification, Curriculum, Certificate of Completion, and Digital Badge included. 


NOTE:  The Institute is aligned with the U.S. Entrepreneurship Certification Examination, equipping teachers with the content knowledge, instructional strategies, curriculum, and resources needed to prepare high school students to pass the exam. Details linked here and the free exam manual at



ACTE Member Rate is $580 for Parts A&B

Nonmember Rate is $680 for Parts A&B

Join ACTE to take advantage of the discounted member rate here:

55 Hours of Professional Development

Or optional 3-hours of undergraduate or graduate credit available for an additional $135
($715 total = $580 + $135)

Please email Dr. Cheryl Ayers at with questions. 

click here for a flyer to share


PART A: Entrepreneurial Mindset


Types of Entrepreneurship

Workplace Intrapreneurship

Entrepreneurial Mindset

Entrepreneur Self-Assessment

Problem-Solving & Research

Entrepreneurial Pathways

Business Opportunity Recognition

Innovation & Design Thinking

Lean Canvas

Lean Startup

PART B: Business Plan


Business Plan

Competitive Analysis

Marketing & Branding
Operations & Resources
Management & Networking
Start-up Costs & Funding Sources

Accounting & Financial Statements

Business Structures & Taxes

Risk Mitigation

Elevator Pitch


The Entrepreneurship Institute has been the most valuable professional development course I have taken. The wealth of knowledge and resources provided by Dr. Cheryl Ayers have significantly improved my lessons. This course is awesome!


The resources provided were amazing and can easily be adapted to any student level in a variety of subjects.  Our ability to collaborate with such diverse educators throughout the [country] was priceless. What an amazing opportunity to learn from colleagues each class via breakout rooms. Thank You for this life-changing educational opportunity.


This class provided a wealth of information about how the entrepreneurial mindset can be used in every subject taught in school and how it will benefit students in life overall, even if they are not interested in being an entrepreneur. These are real life skills and that is what I want to bring into every class I teach.


Our inspiration for this topic is certainly Dr. Cheryl Ayers. She shared so much energy, passion and commitment to this course and entrepreneurship in general that one could not possibly miss the necessity of teaching and sharing this with students. The speakers she availed to us were one of the highlights for me during this course not to mention the wealth of materials for my own learning but also to pass along and teach to my students.


 I want to thank Dr. Ayers for her engaging methods, guest speakers, and endless resources. I loved being able to engage with educators throughout the state and share our entrepreneurial ideas!


This institute was extremely helpful.  I can tell you I don't know what I would have done without the content from the class. The resources alone are worth your time but when you add in the knowledge from Dr. Ayers and insight from other teachers, it becomes quite the jewel. Thank you very much for the opportunity.


The gift of an entrepreneurial mindset could be life saving for [disenfranchised] populations. They desperately want to support themselves and their families but are not being taught that they have other options. They need to hear about the freedom of entrepreneurship to give them hope. Thank you for equipping me.


Of all the professional development I have attended, Dr. Ayers' is by far the best. Due to the engaging nature of her Institute and her amazing resources, I now feel empowered to share the importance of entrepreneurship with all of my students!


The ability to meet virtually with teachers from all areas of Virginia was not only greatly appreciated but also beneficial for future professional and entrepreneurial networking. Outstanding course!


Dr. Ayers is a fantastic instructor. She knows how to make the class challenging and entertaining, but she is understanding of the needs of teachers taking on these classes with work. I have gained so much knowledge from Dr. Ayers and the rest of the teachers in the institute that I am even more excited to incorporate everything that I have learned.


The Institute truly was more than just professional development. I can honestly say that I would take this again even if it wasn't for recertification points. It was the most useful institute I have taken throughout my 7-year teaching career. Dr. Ayers’ passion and enthusiasm for this subject is contagious and I can't wait to incorporate what I have learned in my classroom.


I would start by asking, "What teacher can afford NOT to take this Institute offering?” Entrepreneurs have been the core of the US economy. This continues even to this day and has even been magnified since the 2008 recession and now COVID 19. Most businesses in the US are small and were started as entrepreneurs. This content, especially the business plan, is critical for teachers to know and bring to students. The business plan needs to be shared with our middle and high school students for awareness, knowledge and inspiration.


No matter what field they go into, students need entrepreneurship education. The many, many free resources that Dr. Ayers offers are invaluable. I highly recommend this Institute to all teachers, no matter the subject they specialize in. Thank you Dr. Ayers for another wonderful experience!


Dr. Ayers’ energy and love for entrepreneurship was evident every Zoom class. I learned just how important it is for EVERYONE to have an entrepreneurial mindset and concrete ways to instill that in my students. I am absolutely confident I can integrate parts of this Institute in every lesson.


I have been teaching business and entrepreneurship courses for 22 years.  This Institute taught by Dr. Ayers is by far the best entrepreneurship resource I have seen and been a part of that addresses the needs of our future entrepreneurs.


The entrepreneurial mindset principles can readily be used by students in all aspects of their academic and work careers. Whether or not they go into business for themselves, the principles from this course will help them manage their time and take ownership of their careers and human capital as employees or employers.


The ability to meet virtually with colleagues from all areas was not only greatly appreciated but also beneficial for future professional and entrepreneurial networking. Outstanding course!


Multiple presentations by successful entrepreneurs opened my eyes to the inner workings of businesses. It was invigorating bouncing ideas off one another and getting feedback in real time. Because I was able to talk to and work with everyone in the Institute, I have felt a stronger comradery in this class than I have in any other online course I have ever taken. For the first time, I am sad to see a class ending.


This Institute is a thoroughly engaging community of teacher-learners and is a delightful blend of fun, engaging speakers and challenging activities that put us, as teachers, in the driver's seat. We work through the assignments through the lens of a student, which is great preparation for teaching lessons in our own classes. Getting to work with colleagues has been another avenue to network and share pedagogical strategies. Every teacher should experience this institute!


This institute was such a great opportunity to understand that entrepreneurship is more than just starting a business. Teachers were offered a plethora of resources, collaboration experiences with other teachers, and hands-on practice. Of course the most dynamic component of the course was Dr. Ayers and her enthusiasm for the content that she supported by continued guidance and encouragement to make practical applications for our students.


This Institute has been extremely helpful in my teaching. Not only have I learned a lot, I have taken the information I have learned and created lessons for my classes. The resources provided were awesome. Dr. Ayers provided organized, meaningful lessons; well-structured and relevant. The guest speakers provided real-world application of the topics we were discussing. This is a much-needed professional opportunity for teachers teaching Entrepreneurship or any other class designed to help students find their "niche." Entrepreneurship helps students learn about leadership, perseverance, and work ethic while developing and opening their creative minds. I have enjoyed this Institute and appreciate the time and effort that Dr. Ayers has put into it to make it meaningful and successful.


This is a great course for innovative and practical ideas about how to engage students with projects and skills they can use in school and in life. Entrepreneurship can provide students with the self-confidence and know-how gained from learning the importance of: planning - in detail; time management; foresight; collaboration; resilience; self-confidence; and persistence. This knowledge is relevant to business classes and across other academic courses, I believe. Coming from a career in finance and business, I found that the course provided a fresh perspective to teaching and learning about business. I highly recommend it to teachers interested in providing students with a relevant learning experience they can draw on beyond their school careers.