About ELA

The Entrepreneur Leadership Academy (ELA) was inspired by ConnCAT’s mission to provide equal quality educational opportunities for the under-served population in the New Haven community. ConnCAT, the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology, was founded by Carlton Highsmith who believes that “education and entrepreneurship are the equalizers of the Ameritocracy.”

What We Do


The ELA curriculum aims to teach the 9-Steps of Idea-to-Commercialization© concept through five, interdependent program elements. All five programs encourage participants to launch their own ventures while building mentor-relationships between other students, faculty and successful entrepreneurs. This program provides participants with the opportunity to collaborate with people of different nations, broadening the view of developing and future entrepreneurs from local to global.

2019 ELA Hungary Participants Learned the Basics of Entrepreneurship

Past Projects

Over the past four summers, ELA has graduated over a hundred high school students and college interns. Several of these projects have continued development and are on a commercialization path. With their success, many of our graduates have returned as mentors and facilitators.

ELA Summer 2020

The 2020 ELA Summer program continues to deliver a successful educational curriculum and provide a meaningful learning experience for these young entrepreneurs.


The academy’s success is due to the large collaboration of ConnCAT, New Haven Public Schools, QU Central European Institute, MCC, INPUT and many more.

Would you like to become a Benefactor of a young talent?