The Young Entrepreneurs Academy pilot program at Tippecanoe Valley High School began Tuesday, Aug. 20. YEA! classes will meet each Tuesday through the school year and will incorporate project based learning within a multi-subject class that combines English, government and economics with the goal of building a student toolbox for success.
The 26 students will add to their toolboxes by creating a business plan, securing an investor, developing marketing materials and learning to sell their business or organization to the public at a trade show. All of these tools will be used to further their education while enhancing their life with the knowledge gained through creating a business plan.
YEA! will provide students with a clearer understanding of the academic learning received through English, government and economics in a practical, useful way. Through YEA! students will experience the concept of owning a business and the hard work it takes to maintain a successful business over time. Each student will see firsthand what it takes to come up with a business concept, creating the direction for the business, and decide if it will be real and sustainable.
The Grace College School of Business Professors will instruct the YEA! portion of the classes. The Grace College instructors are volunteers dedicating their expertise in different areas of business strengths to open the door to a wide variety of ideas and critical thinking. YEA! students planning to further their education after high school will have an opportunity to receive three credit hours from Grace College for taking this class.
Community business people will mentor the students throughout the year. The relationships students develop with those individuals will build greater understanding of the local economy, economic development benefits, and the glamorous vs. the not so glamorous views of being an entrepreneur. Each student’s knowledge of entrepreneurship will be strengthened. Students will gain confidence in public speaking and working as partners. A positive result for the community is the potential of seeing a greater number of students giving back to their community, if not in the short term, hopefully in the long term by returning to their hometown to build a business or start a movement.
The YEA! program model is normally an after school activity, having never been conducted during a school day. The partnership with Tippecanoe Valley is breaking new ground for the program creator. A successful implementation of YEA! at Tippecanoe Valley High School will allow this model to be implemented in the future in the other Kosciusko County school districts, impacting even more students in our community. It will also provide the YEA! a new program model for chambers of commerce to use successfully throughout the nation.
The students who experience the YEA! in this way will benefit from a greater understanding of business, will be better prepared as potential business developers and owners, and will have an increased appreciation of life in general. They will end their high school education with a toolbox full of useful, relevant tools to take on any endeavor and become successful adults.
Sponsors for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy are Maple Leaf Farms, Paragon Medical, and The Auto Park. For more information contact Renea Salyer at the Warsaw Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce, 313 S. Buffalo St., Warsaw, (574) 267-6311 or email [email protected].