Building a Better Tomorrow
by Steve Franks, Entrepreneurship Program Director, Believe In A Dream As the school year winds down, I am reflecting on the student entrepreneurs who are already building the economic future […]
by Steve Franks, Entrepreneurship Program Director, Believe In A Dream
As the school year winds down, I am reflecting on the student entrepreneurs who are already building the economic future of our region—and the people helping them to do that.
- At the Amp Lab community partner celebration, Riley Johnson announced that Amp Lab students had launched 150 ventures this year supported by a variety of awesome teachers.
- I know that Ashley Johnson at DeKalb HS and Tami Maxey at Lakeland HS saw between twenty and thirty ventures launched between their two schools.
- At Anthis Career Center, I met with over two dozen entrepreneurial students in Veronica Townes’ cosmetology class and Alex McKinstry’s computer science class.
- At New Tech Academy, Josh Smith, Erica Almas, and Bob Haddad guided over 100 students through exercises to start entrepreneurial ventures or projects.
- Next month I’ll get to speak once again to a couple of dozen students at the annual Junior Achievement middle school entrepreneurship camp that Karen Anderson Cooper produces.
- And I know that throughout the region there are MANY MORE teachers, leaders, and students exploring entrepreneurship.
Because I work with students and teachers (as the Entrepreneurship Program Director at nonprofit Believe In A Dream), I am very fortunate to have a front row seat to much of this activity.
- I get to see the difference in students from a tentative day one coming up with a business idea to a confident final presentation.
- I get to help them celebrate their first sales—and their continued growth.
- I get to see new products developed and tested.
- I get to applaud as students win awards! This year I witnessed Carly from Lakeland and Connor from DeKalb win awards at Trine University’s Innovation Challenge. I witnessed two teams win the Innovate WithIN Fort Wayne regional competition—Connor and his business partner Nash’s team and Adrian, Emilie, and Seth’s team from Amp Lab—and I’ll get to watch them compete at the state finals in June.
Because our program encourages students to apply entrepreneurship to make the world better, not just to make money, I get to watch as Young Visionaries make their strides to improve various communities within our region.
- I saw Young Visionaries Irasema Hernandez and Dayani Guevara launch nonprofit Stronger Together Unidos to help ease the barriers for Latino students seeking higher education. This was not their first visionary project. The first was 5 years ago at Snider HS when they were participants in our Pave the Path program produced by Jeff Roberts.
- I saw Elayna Hasty’s G.A.B. Girls nonprofit grow its reach through a decade of helping “girls against bullying”. In June, I get to see her compete in the Miss Indiana competition. Good luck, Elayna!
- In a week, I get to lead over 100 students through a Pave the Path workshop (the same one that Irasema and Dayani attended 5 years ago) to dream about their own visionary projects.
In the 1965 words of The Who, “The kids are alright.”