Dublin City Schools officials are looking to develop an incubator for entrepreneurial-minded students to develop their own businesses.

The incubator would function as an extracurricular program for students to foster teamwork and lessons around business, said Todd Hoadley, Dublin's superintendent.

Hoadley said district administrators are envisioning the Emerald Campus as the location for the program, where students could meet during non-school hours such as afternoons, evenings, weekends or during the summer.

Dipanjan Nag, who serves in a volunteer role at the Emerald Campus as its executive in residence, is partnering with the district in designing the incubator program, Hoadley said.

Entrepreneurship and innovation can make for a bright future for Dublin students, but those areas are not addressed in a traditional high school education, Nag said.

"The Dublin schools incubator program weaves in the ideation, incubation and implementation to get startups launched," he said.

Hoadley said the administration will ask Dublin Board of Education members to consider the funding and two full-time positions for the program that would be funded by the district.

The hope, he said, is that positions could be approved as early as late fall.

"Our board has not committed to any funding," Hoadley said.

As of now, board members just heard an introductory presentation about the program at their meeting Sept. 9.

Board Member Chris Valentine, an entrepreneur himself, said the program would give students an opportunity to try to solve problems by building businesses.

Dublin, central Ohio and the midwest can be a great entrepreneurial environment for students, and entrepreneurial incubators already are growing businesses here, Valentine said.

Hoadley said six to eight weeks likely will pass before board members make any decisions about the incubator.

The program would initially be open to high school students, and then middle school students as well, Hoadley said. In the future, the program also could be opened to non-Dublin students.

"We want to go slow before we go fast," Hoadley said.

Dublin students either would participate at no cost or a low cost, while out-of-district students likely would have a higher participation fee, he said.

Hoadley also said he envisions creating a non-profit organization to accept grants or donations for the program.

If the funding grows, it could potentially be used to fund employees who would run the incubator, he said.

"That would be our goal," he said.

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