The Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Apex CIE) at Virginia Tech is partnering with Startupland, a digital learning system that provides individuals and institutions an interactive, reflective approach to studying entrepreneurship.

As part of the iScholars program, selected Virginia Tech students are preparing themselves for internships with companies this summer through a course that incorporates Startupland to gain an appreciation for the entrepreneurial mindset and professional performance. The course is being taught by Jill Sible, assistant provost for undergraduate education in the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, and Ph.D. student Najla Mouchrek.

“We are thrilled to include the Startupland online learning platform in our iScholars program as a way to enhance the student experience and prepare them for the uncertainty often found in industry,” said Derick Maggard, Apex CIE executive director.

The Startupland online course offers a self-paced learning environment that combines real-life insights, dynamic lessons, peer discussion, and case studies to give students a realistic look at what it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur, said Katie Gage, executive director of Startupland.

“It presents the authentic and relatable stories of five CEOs taking their companies from idea stage to seed funding through an accelerator program. The content is delivered through compelling first-person storytelling,” she said. The course also examines in depth the challenges faced by founders of well-known companies, such as AOL, Reddit, Springboard Enterprises, and MapQuest.

“The Startupland curriculum is a perfect complement to our experiential learning activities and reinforces our core belief that entrepreneurship can be a powerful force inside organizations of all shapes and sizes,” Maggard said.

iScholars is an innovation-focused, 12-week paid summer internship that integrates employment, course work, and community to provide hands-on experience for Virginia Tech undergraduate students in the National Capital Region. iScholars is a joint effort of the Apex CIE and the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at Virginia Tech. Financial support is provided by the Office of the Vice President for the National Capital Region. This summer, the program will offer 40 undergraduates the opportunity to live, work, and learn in the metro Washington, D.C., area.

“Startupland is designed to educate and empower the world-changers of tomorrow,” said Gage. “We want aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere to have access to the insights and experiences of seasoned entrepreneurs to help them build their creative ideas and approach their endeavors with an entrepreneurial mindset.”

Virginia Tech, she said, will be the first university to implement the Startupland curriculum as part of an undergraduate course.