Last night, our most recent class of youth entrepreneurs showed their products and demonstrated their newly-found knowledge. According to our judge, Mike Kostak, owner of Olde Granddad Industries, Inc., our students were able to present their products and defend their businesses convincingly. Indeed, Mike left his sessions with our students full of ideas about how to move their business ideas forward and anxious to share!
We know that entrepreneurship education benefits students by introducing alternate career paths from ones they might have considered. In every graduating class, there are students who want to go into business right away. There are some who will consider it after college or several years of employment. Some graduates aren’t considering it now, but will at some time in their lives. There are even those who have thought about it and now, with more knowledge about what it takes for entrepreneurial success, decide it's just not for them. Finally, there is the student that has no interest now in entrepreneurship and will never be interested in it, but will be a better employee because she now knows what is important to her employer. He knows how businesses make money. We think every student should have the opportunity to make an informed decision about entrepreneurship as a career path now or later in life, or be informed by this knowledge..
Most youth entrepreneurship programs assume that the students are operating in a close business community that is supportive of their endeavors, and that the students enter these programs with business ideas. We know that is not the case for most of our students -- indeed, many of them have never heard the word entrepreneurship before beginning at GlassRoots. A major benefit to the program at GlassRoots is that, by providing the opportunity to apply their business learning to a 'glass-based business', one that may or may not ever come to fruition, we give context for our students' learning. Our program isn't simply theoretical, it is fully experiential. Fully applied learning. And glass provides the opportunity for learning other skills, including persistence, resilience, communication, and cooperation that are essential for success in business, and in life.
We also provide a context for the academic subjects they are studying, giving those subjects a grounding in the real world. Entrepreneurship can be the answer to, “Why do I need to study this?” Math, science, writing and communication, history, geography, and the arts can be connected to today’s world through a connection to entrepreneurship. How will a scientist turn a discovery into income? How will an artist turn that talent into a family-supporting career? Every career and technical student with a skill to sell in the market place should consider the difference between finding a job and making their own job, and every student should understand that option.
We're proud of our students and our program. We're proud of our staff who bring this all together.
Finally,when asked, last night, what was the most important learning, one student quickly shared, "Blood doesn't define family." Another learning to add to our list! GlassRoots truly creates community, and our students know that no one has to go it alone!
By the way, the few unsold items from last night's competition are for sale in our gift shop. Come visit soon!
Thank you to the funders of our high school programs:
Common Sense Fund
NJ Office of Faith Based Initiatives
NJ State Council on the Arts
S. Irving and Anne Nevard Sherr Foundation
TD Bank Charitable Foundation
Special thanks to those volunteers who generously provided their time, ideas, and support to our students during the year:
Steve Prato, Joe Tea Company
Ricky Boscarino, Luna Parc