Friday, April 13, 2007

Y Generation Entrepreneurs!

Readers of my blog will notice I have taken a little sabbatical, well sort of, I am waaaayy too riddled with ADD to every really take time off. I never really rest or sleep, or anything else that most people would consider fun, I am basically a workaholic. I have been working on bringing a really neat program to fruition. Over a year ago I started working with my local school district to found an entrepreneurial program in the business tech program.

I am proud to say that program is now a full blown success. The program has only been done one other place in the entire U.S. I am proud to say that our program is the second time it has ever been done. We took a class of kids from the business tech program and divided them into two groups. One group wrote business and marketing plans for businesses they would like to start. The second group were coached to be the "venture capital" group.

The kids writing the business plans presented their plans and defended them to the venture capitalists and requested funds to start and run their business. Both groups were coached by local business leaders including yours truly. The entrepreneurs were coached on how to write business plans, defend them, and get venture funds. Now they are being coached in the actual running of the business. The venture group was coached to look at business plans critically and evaluate them based on merit and opportunity.

The winning plans were awarded real cash as seed money to found their companies and see how they do with it. They are coached and mentored by the local business leaders that serve as their board of advisers and a sounding board for new ideas and help when things don't go as planned.

The program started off with an amazing success with 5 student planned and established companies receiving funding. All of them have gotten off to a really strong start with a big sales push through a local business expo. All of them are so excited and doing well.

I raised the money for the initial venture fund by approaching the president of a regional economic development agency that had seen the program work in another state. He agreed to fund the venture and ultimately would like to see it duplicated in all the school systems in the area.

Entrepreneurship is one of the great dreams of people in many countries including the U.S. and an awesome experience for anyone regardless if they stay the course or work for someone this experience will be with them forever. Now thanks to this program the new "Y Generation" has the chance to live this dream.

You can see a write up about the program in our local newspaper here. The program has even attracted the attention of business writers and columnists around the country for its uniqueness. I was interviewed by a nationally syndicated business columnists today that will be discussing the program in his May 9th column that will be syndicated to 400 newspapers nationally!

I feel confident that some of the seeds that were planted today will grow into great trees in the future and will no doubt change the course of some of these kids futures. That will be a site worth seeing.

Michael Temple