Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Generation E

“We have a special curriculum in the high school on entrepreneurism. Right now we have about 150 students taking part,” Hillary Eley explained to me on my tour of Coldwater, MI. One of those students, Nate Johnson, was at my talk that night. Nate is entering college this fall, started his first business at the age of nine and projects a very entrepreneurial spirit.

Cheryl Peters and April Katz of the Generation E Institute which set up the entrepreneurship program were also at my talk. Cheryl explained to me, “We started this program three years ago, aiming it at high school students and those going for a GED. We’ve expanded it into the grade school and also begun a 7th grade camp this summer. Today, we are in 58 schools.”

Their program includes starting a business because as Cheryl said, “They’ve got to walk the walk. It can’t just be something learned in the classroom.” They’ve had businesses started selling art, jewelry, car care, wake boarding, a golf tournament and many other new endeavors.

They related the story of one of their summer campers this summer, “Jordan came to the camp as a very shy, quiet kid but by the end of it had blossomed into the leader of his team. He was the one who did their final presentation. When he got home he came up with an idea for a defensive mechanism for the police force. Today we are assisting him with a patent search and figuring out how to begin marketing his new invention.”

Not bad for a 12 year old. How many Jordan’s are their in your town?

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