ESI Pilot Program Wrapped up with the Youth Entrepreneur Showcase

Did  you know... Statistics  reveal only 1% of students are  entrepreneurs.  In the EntrepreneurShip  Investigation (ESI) pilot program in Phillipsburg,  we had 10% of the students develop a business  plan and product to sell! 

A  public/private partnership between Phillipsburg  Middle  School, Discover  Phillipsburg Main  Street and the  Entrepreneurial  Center  (E-Center) in Phillipsburg  introduced entrepreneurship to fifty-one eight  grade students this semester.    

The  nationally recognized EntrepreneurShip  Investigation (ESI) curriculum was developed  through the University of  Nebraska,  in Lincoln. This  curriculum has been taught by Mrs. Jackie Abell  and Mr. Jim Smith middle school health  instructors. It is an exciting, interactive, and  comprehensive curriculum project designed for  youth. These instructors began teaching this  curriculum in January with an investigation into  the businesses and business owners in our   own community. Included in this portion of  the class were local business owners who went into  the classroom to share their own experiences about  being entrepreneurs. 

After  learning about our local small businesses, the  students then had the chance to investigate  themselves.  Learning about their talents,  interests and hobbies; these students were then  able to recognize what entrepreneurial skills they  already possessed. 

Additional  class work included investigating the risks of  small businesses, looking at the possibilities of  what the students wanted to be when they grow up,  and our changing community and world.  “I  haven’t done anything like this before. I like it  because it’s unique.” stated Temarian Snell who is  developing the business JewelTastic.    

After  looking at the community and themselves, students  then investigated numerous topics surrounding  entrepreneurship. They learned the value of  building a good reputation, dressing like a pro,  the value of time and getting control of your time  as well as selling your big  idea. 

Matt  Mahathey  the owner of Outstanding Origami stated, “I think  it is neat that we started this. This peaked my  interest.  At first, the assignments really  made me mad.  They were hard.  It makes  me think more than science and I hate  science.” 

After  completion of book two, it was decision time for  these students. Did they see themselves as  entrepreneurs and were they ready to make the  commitment, take the risk to see if they could  succeed as a youth  entrepreneur? 

Statistics  show on the average 1% of all youth are  entrepreneurs. Phillipsburg once  again showed that our students are above average.  Six of the students committed to developing their  business, showcasing it and submitting a business  plan. The businesses are as  follows: 

Outstanding  Origami: Everything  folds into place is being developed by Matt  Mahathey.  Christina’s Tasty Temptations:  There’s no place like home……made cookies; owner  Christina Wente.  JewelTastic: Accessories  that make you look fantastic; by designer Temarian  Snell and Cuties’ Cupcakes: Almost too cute to  eat; baked by Alex Babcock and Chelsea  Lumpkin. 

On  May 9, 2012 these budding entrepreneurs were  guests on the Tadpole and KKAN/KQMA radio station  in Phillipsburg. Sharing  in their own words, what they have  experienced this semester through  the ESI course. On Thursday May 10th in  downtown Phillipsburg  these students showcased their businesses.   All four businesses sold out of product after an  hour and a half of sales.     

This  partnership has been partially funded by the Dane  G. Hansen Foundation through the   E-Center,  Discover Phillipsburg Main  Street and the  Foundation for Rural Services.