Thanks to ALL who joined us for the Forum 2016!  We had an amazing time and made some lasting friendships.  Highlights included the launching of the America’s Entrepreneurial Schools Initiative spearheaded by Dr. Gene Coulson.

Dr. Coulson joyfully introduces America's Entrepreneurial Schools Initiative

Our Keynote featured Chad Ratliff of Albemarle School District sharing his experience bringing the maker movement to schools utilizing maker spaces as a catalyst for change in a school system.

Following our evening of fellowship and networking at the CELEBRATION on Friday night, Saturday Morning began with a great presentation by Cheryl Peters and Doris Lux where they demonstrated how to create a “Shark Tank” in the classroom.  Educators were able to experience the immersion lesson through hands-on learning to see what it will look like in the classroom.

Toi Hershman gave a presentation on the definition of the New Entrepreneur and what our youth are facing in today’s “gig” economy.  She showed us what it will be like for students to compete, not just locally, but globally and how that has changed the way we need to shape our educational goals.

Entre-Ed Board Member, Delores Ali, presented Cheryl Peters with the Leadership and Advocacy Award for her work with Generation E Institute  (GenEI).  GenEI ignites the entrepreneurial spirit with community programs that inspire and guide creative thinking to compete in tomorrow’s economy. GenEI provides entrepreneurial programs to youth, nationally, and adults in Southwest Michigan.

Then Ms. Ali presented Ronni Cohen with inductance in the Entrepreneurship Education Hall of Fame.  An award that honors those spending their careers working for the promotion of Entrepreneurship.  Ms. Cohen has been a pioneer in Elementary School Entrepreneurship as the only Elementary Educator to receive INC. Magazine’s Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year Award in 1993. Thus, she wrote Inventor’s Portfolio, a hands-on approach to entrepreneurship integrated across the curriculum and was honored at the Library of Congress.  She created the unique elementary economics and entrepreneurship school wide program, Green Street Works; and Chasing the Dream, a venture creation program for at risk youth. Three years ago, she created Delaware’s Financial Literacy Institute’s (DFLI) Center for Business Growth, to offer resources to young entrepreneurs catching  the attention of Governor Markell, who handpicked Ms. Cohen to head the nonprofit Delaware Financial Literacy Institute.  DFLI has provided more than 7,500 free classes, events and programs to students of all ages throughout Delaware.

Congratulations to both Cheryl and Ronnie for their commitment and dedication to our youth!

We were inspired by Jodie Woodruff from the MET School in Rhode Island where her leadership promoting student businesses to new levels, has created so many young entrepreneurs and students ready to tackle the real world in a positive, self-confident way.

Jodie presented alongside Ashley Greenway, who received funding from the Real World Scholars foundation, to develop Sugarkids, a first grade-run company specializing in bath and body products that raised $18,000 in their first year through student-driven entrepreneurship.

Tom Gold from The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) shared thoughts on capturing the entrepreneurial mindset and showed us the research behind creating a culture of entrepreneurship in a school system.

Sunday, the fun continued as we kicked of the day with Entre-Ed’s  own Horace Robertson who demonstrated the student-centered web-based learning tool, The Roadmap to Entrepreneurship, a collection of questions to ensure that aspiring entrepreneurs go through the key mileposts of researching and visiting with mentors as they journey toward their entrepreneurial dream. These questions will help teachers by having students ready for their lessons and activities that help students build an entrepreneurial mindset and cultivate an entrepreneurial culture in a school.

Jodie Woodruff was back to talk about what it means to become an Allen Distinguished Educator  (ADE) and to share her amazing story and experience as an award recipient.  Jodie was honored by ADE for her efforts at the MET school brining entrepreneurship and new ways of learning to students who need it most.  These students are able to develop entrepreneurial skills and start a real business while earning high school credit.  Allen Distinguished Educators is a partnership that honors innovative teaching practices and provides teachers opportunities to apply and win grant money to continue to do great things for students.

Melanie Arthur from Calhoun Middle-High School in Mt. Zion, West Virginia and Charles Thomas from Arnoldsburg Elementary in Arnoldsburg, West Virginia shared their experiences as some of the first schools to hold the America’s Entrepreneurial Schools designation by providing entrepreneurial experiences for every student in their schools.

Ms. Arthur’s school hosted Lemonade Day for her middle school students which is a national foundation and program designed to enhance student entrepreneurial skills.  Every middle school student created a business plan, lemonade stand and recipe.  The judging event took place on May 24th and was a huge success!

Ms. Arthur’s High School students participated in a variety of activities. First, students engaged in Teen Interest Day where local business owners came to speak with students about how they started their journey into entrepreneurship.  Students led the conversation and chose topics based on personal interest.  Next, students participated in Agricultural Entrepreneurship Experiences where they created an agricultural product or service and determined how to market and sell it.  Students chose topics from buying, raising, and selling animals to lawn care. Finally, as part of a Simulated Workplace effort, students chose fields of interest and developed a workforce.  Fields included culinary arts, computer and information technology, digital media, the arts and agriculture.

At Arnoldsburg Elementary, Mr. Thomas challenged students and teachers to think like entrepreneurs from pre-kindergarten through fourth grade.  The first phase of the entrepreneur program was the school store. In collaborative groups, 4th grade students took orders within a given budget, set resale prices for items, and determined the profit that could be earned. The groups then had to present their ideas to their classmates and a panel of judges. The group that had the best profit margin was awarded the right to order the supplies for the store. The next phase of the entrepreneur program involved all the students in the school. It included teaching students social responsibility and that leaders help others. All money raised during this phase was donated to the charity, Saint Jude’s Children Hospital. All students created a business, developed a product, discussed the expected cost of their products and determined a selling price which included development, marketing and raw materials.  All students participated in counting money and calculating profits. The school held an Entrepreneur Bazaar that was open to parents and the community. Thirty-three parents and community members attended. The bazaar was a huge success. The students and attendees had a great time. The final phase of our entrepreneur program was a teacher read aloud and visits from local business. Every teacher read the book titled, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR? and emphasized key vocabulary.

After lunch, Nich Haber from Certiport presented on ideas for entrepreneurship and small business certification models.  Certiport will release their new model at the end of the year.  Nich discussed what that could mean for entrepreneurship programs.

Dr. Micah Lande showed us the Business Model Canvas and Mindsets as tools for entrepreneurship and took us through a unique and fun exercise for finding customer needs in the marketplace based on empathy and user-centered design.

Next, our own Cheryl Peters was back to share how to put the Business Model Canvas model into action.  We had a great time working though the models with our ideas for innovation.  There were some tremendous entrepreneurship discussions in the room and it was evident how this can be applied to engage and motivate students.  Cheryl even shared how to adapt this model for all grade levels.

Dr. Michael Chambers who is currently the Assistant Vice President for Research and Innovation at the University of South Alabama spoke to us about disrupting your business and finding new opportunities.  As a biotechnology and medical entrepreneur, Dr. Chambers knows a lot about how quickly industries change and move in today’s world.  He enlightened us with ideas for staying on top of your business and moving with the world’s pace.

Doris Lux walked us through her guide for communities to develop a pipeline of entrepreneurship to help them thrive.  Cultivating local talent builds communities and the economy.  Doris showed us how she compels people to take action and work toward their goals.

Monday we were inspired by our field trip to The Exchange, an entrepreneurial incubator.  Where Todd Greer, the Chief Catalyst (coolest title ever) gave us a tour of their space.  What an incredible place to work.   The Exchange is rethinking the way that one goes to work.  They built a space that is flexible to individual needs, rather than individuals having to be flexible to what the space offers? Members of the Exchange community choose to work in ways that allow them to be successful. Standing or seated, indoors or outdoors, alone or in collaboration, heads down or up, coffee or tea, the Exchange provides the space for clients to work on their terms.

While at the exchange we heard from Ken Forbes, a technology entrepreneur and enterprise software mastermind.  Ken is the quintessential entrepreneur and has been part of many successful technology ventures too numerous list here.  Ken is currently the founder of FastPassNow Inc.  Ken shared his experience with us imparting his wisdom on the things one should know going into a business venture including the mindsets one needs to keep.

We were also very pleased to meet the incredible Haley Van Antwerp who founded Innovation PortAL, a “small business incubator” with a mission to bring more entrepreneurial development to the Gulf Coast. Hayley shared with us the distinctions between being an entrepreneur and being an employee including the trade-offs of each along with all the good, bad and ugly points to consider.

We returned from our field trip to the closing session with the Mayor of the fine City of Mobile, Sandy Stimpson, who shared his thanks and praise for the great educators in the room as well as a true love of his city.

What an amazing weekend filled with great information and wonderful opportunities to meet so many outstanding educators and organizational leaders doing great things for students and young adults in the name of entrepreneurship.  We cannot wait for next years’ FORUM!!

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