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About ELA

The Entrepreneur Leadership Academy (ELA) was inspired by ConnCAT’s mission to provide equal quality educational opportunities for the under-served in the New Haven community. Carlton Highsmith, the founder of ConnCAT, 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, self-complementing program elements. All five programs encourage participants to launch their own ventures while building mentor-relationships between students, faculty and successful entrepreneurs. The International element broadens the view of budding and future entrepreneurs from local to global.

2018 ELA Hungary Participants Learned the Basics of Entrepreneurship

Past Projects

Over the past two 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 2019

The 2019 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, Hungarian Gov’t, and The Garage. Recently, Bridgeport Public Schools joined the partnership in 2018.

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