Arrupe Jesuit school members

As president of Arrupe Jesuit High School, Michael O’Hagan understands the many challenges his students face.

Nearly 80 percent of Arrupe’s student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch. Almost all are the first to attend college in their family, and most are the first to attend high school.

Now, though, Arrupe’s students will have an opportunity to join a program that promotes growing ideas and originality, and deepens the school’s relationship with Regis University.

The Regis Innovation Center in the Anderson College of Business (ACB) donated $7,000 to Arrupe to start an entrepreneur and innovation club.

The money will help with operational costs and to jumpstart a program intended to lead high schoolers into college and from there, running their own businesses.

“Our students have no prior exposure to this stuff,” O’Hagan said. “But it shows them the value of their ideas. We want this to make them shift their perceptions from what’s not possible to what is possible. This shows them that their perspective matters.”

For ACB, it continues its transformation into one of the region’s top entrepreneur and innovation programs.

Fresh off the second Innovation Challenge, where ACB awarded $17,000 to several student businesses, the college partnered with Zivaro Holdings, a management consulting firm, and Glamping Hub, an online booking platform for unique outdoor accommodations, to develop a business accelerator called the Magis Factory.

The accelerator will house Regis student and alumni businesses that are past the incubation stage. Businesses will have access to work space, technology and industry expertise for up to 30 months.

The idea is to create a longer timeline for teaching entrepreneurial ideas, said Innovation Center Director Ken Sagendorf. Ideally, he said, Arrupe students will participate in the club, then enter the Innovation Challenge while attending Regis and, finally, have an entrepreneurial business housed in the Magis Factory accelerator.

“Our values really align,” Sagendorf said. “Arrupe Jesuit really believes in our stewardship vision. Their values are designed to work on societal issues. We want to help and be a part of that in any way we can.”