Imagine what Indiana would be like in 2017 if a significant number of our brightest young people had stayed near home, received an education, and then started businesses here instead of moving to the coasts, or the mountains, or to wherever these kids disappear. How do we build a culture that first tells our young people they can "make a job as well as take a job," and also provides for them meaningful learning experiences and a policy (both public and institutional) environment that encourages and supports the formation and growth of new enterprises? Some are calling this an "entrepreneurship ecosystem."
One region in Indiana is taking a giant stride in that direction by setting an aggressive goal of having an entrepreneurship program in every public high school in the 14-county area. If they accomplish this goal over the next two years, it may very well represent the nation's first economic region to do so. Could North Central Indiana emerge as the first Entrepreneurship Super-Region?
To accomplish this potentially precedent-busting goal, the WIRED region will support the implementation of the Entrepreneurship Youth Institute model of the Indiana Council for Economic Education. Every high school in the region will be invited to participate in a bootcamp-style program where teams of teachers and students attend workshops at Purdue University where they learn about starting a business, get connected to real-life entrepreneurs, get the tools they need to actually start a business, get connected to university and community resources that can help support their endeavors.
The teachers attending the bootcamp will include business and economics teachers but also teachers from the school's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs. After the fall workshop, students return to school where they work on business plans, with mentoring from their teachers, and then they return to Purdue in the spring for evaluation of their plans.
Teachers will leave the institute with outstanding teaching tools they can use to incorporate entrepreneurship into their curricula.