Develop Iosco’s Youth entrepreneurship program sees successful outcome in first session

Iosco County’s next generation presented with successful entrepreneurship program.

In October 2012, several leaders from the Iosco County area attended the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities conference in Petoskey, Mich., presented by Michigan State University Extension. One of the breakout sessions was related to establishing youth entrepreneurship programs in your community, and this team found an initiative to rally behind. Upon return to their community, they presented their interest to Develop Iosco, a local Economic Development organization, and formed a committee to explore the viability of just such a program.

Over the course of a few short months, the committee met regularly and decided on an approach to create a program on a shoestring budget while exploring curriculum and offerings that could eventually be augmented into a traditional K-12 program. Through this process, it was determined that this first phase was to create and present a curriculum that could be offered to the Alternative Education program.

This pilot program was offered over a four week period in October 2013 to a class of 8 students. Sessions were three hours in length and held one day per week over the four-week period.

Some of the topics covered in this program were:

  • Defining an entrepreneur
  • Sourcing capital
  • Business plan formation
  • Local Resources

Also, this program incorporated practical exercises in which students interviewed local business leaders. There were also in-class presentations by several local business leaders, who explained the process and what the students needed to do to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit.

In general, the students were excited and energized by the program, which was a departure from their regular day-to-day curriculum. When asked if this program should be offered again, the consensus was a resounding YES!

In upcoming months, Develop Iosco’s Entrepreneurism Committee will be meeting to develop the second phase of the program as well as digging deeper into a more traditional program to potentially be offered through the school districts or ISD.

Funding for this program was graciously provided by a Local Facility Giving grant from Walmart, which covered the cost of supplies and the facilitator who presented the program to the students.

This program is another true example of successful collaboration with a focus on the good of the next generation. Members of the committee include representative from Iosco RESA, MSU Extension, Michigan Works Region 7-B Consortium, MI-SBTDC, City of East Tawas, Oscoda-AuSable Chamber of Commerce, Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce, Oscoda Area CVB as well as others.

This group is working hard on building upon this success and surely will have more success stories to share in the future in hopes that similar programs will be emulated throughout the Northeast Michigan region.

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