The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Design the Life You Want

This is a virtual course for middle-school and high-school students

The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Design the Life You Want

Find something that makes you happy and use it to make others happy


  • Monday June 1, 2020 – Friday June 5, 2020, 9am-3pm CDT (12pm to 1pm is “on your own” lunch)
  • Location-independent though student should live in a timezone that aligns commonsensically with class hours
  • No refunds: peruse the detail below and chat with your child before registering so you can decide if this is indeed the perfect fit
  • Facebook Event if you’d like to share/invite

Registration has closed. It’s not known at this point if this class will be offered again this year. Best way to receive updates is to follow Mac & Cheese on social and/or sign up for the e-newsletter. You can also periodically check the calendar page.

This is not your traditional business class. Through dissecting how an idea becomes a viable venture, the focus is on how to forge your own path using what you  already  possess, to embrace out of the box thinking and action, and to harness the power of yes. Sure, business plans, investors, and knowing what you’re doing are wonderful; but sometimes they don’t happen yet success still can and does.  This course approaches entrepreneurship as a lifestyle, a fundamental human instinct that we all possess and can and should unlock regardless of  personal makeup and career choice. Students learn the characteristics of an entrepreneur and the various elements essential to developing and leading a successful entrepreneurial enterprise and existence, appropriate and applicable even for those who don’t choose self-employment or being a business owner.

In this course, Instructor  Saya Hillman shares her Life of Yes℠ philosophy and techniques, perfect for those eager to be in control of their lives. Through personal anecdotes, transparency, and a charismatic, relatable personality, she inspires students to have “Aha!” moments, ignore negative internal and external voices, and think proactively about how they can get the most out of life. It’s never too early to start pondering “What do I want to  do?” questions nor learning best practices to help navigate the world. Class culminates in students presenting a business of their own, receiving feedback about its viability, and answering the question, “Now what?” with a hope that they will continue an entrepreneurial mindset as they move forward.

This non-credit, virtual course is a mix of individual, small group, and whole group learning, using a variety of teaching methods and tools. Upon course completion, if the student met class expectations, Saya is happy to write a letter of recommendation upon student request.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn  the traits, skills, and strategies of a successful entrepreneur
  • Learn how to go from idea to income stream
  • Learn the nuts and bolts and ups and downs of running a business
  • Learn how to be comfortable with networking, sales, marketing, risk-taking, public speaking, leadership, negotiation, collaboration, vulnerability, speaking up, being a pioneer, troubleshooting, and failure
  • Learn concepts such as market analysis, viability assessment, marketing strategy, sales channel analysis, scaling, business plans, ROI, and the elevator pitch
  • Learn how to identify, assess, and develop the lifeblood of every business,  human capital
  • Learn how to apply the principles of entrepreneurship in everyday life

Supply Requirements

  • A video-enabled device (computer or tablet)
  • Note-taking materials (digital or analog)
  • The most updated version of Zoom
  • A quiet space
  • A more detailed “ideal” supply list will be sent to registrants but due to COVID, nothing on the list will be required and we’ll adapt as necessary

Student Requirements and Expectations

  • Be a current middle school or high school student
  • Have an excellent record of school attendance and conduct
  • While there is no GPA nor prerequisite requirement, students should be motivated, self-starters who work well independently and with others and who express an interest in entrepreneurism, innovation, and/or career path reflection
  • Students are expected to have perfect, on time attendance

About Saya

Called “Accessible Oprah,” Saya has run a successful business since 2004, Mac & Cheese Productions℠. Mac & Cheese creates spaces that build connection: to others, to opportunities, and to self. A Chicago native and Montessori and Boston College graduate, Saya was one of Brazen Careerist’s Top Twenty Young Professionals to Watch, has been featured in Forbes and the New York Times, and is a TEDx speaker.

Through Mac & Cheese’s teaching branch, she’s taught children and adults, ages 7 to 60-something, a variety of subject matter including digital media, productivity, and storytelling. She’s been a Teaching Artist through After School Matters and Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education and directly through multiple Chicago Public Schools. Beyond teaching, she has years of working with youth via volunteer programs such as Chicago Cares where she ran an elementary school’s Saturday enrichment program and iMentor where she helped a high school student transition to college through a three year mentor/mentee relationship.