NEO's Enterprising Young Entrerpreneurs
by Deborah Hoover
This spring I drank a lot of lemonade. I do like lemonade and enjoy savoring the different flavors that young entrepreneurs have whipped up—pink, orange, or pale yellow—sometimes spiced with bits of fruit or decorated with paper parasols. But for Burton D. Morgan Foundation and Young Entrepreneur Institute, these tasty concoctions are only the beginning of the story.
While we make our purchases, we like to talk to the kids to understand what they have learned and how their team gelled to build their business. The kids tell us about teamwork, marketing, budgeting, and designing. They tell us how it made math class more interesting to apply their lessons to a real life problem. They tell us how they negotiated with each other to name their stand and work out a delicious recipe. There is magic in these conversations that reveals the impact of Lemonade Day NEO as it expands it reach across the region to several thousand children this year.
Lemonade Day NEO is one of a host of programs coordinated by Young Entrepreneur Institute, our region’s backbone organization for youth entrepreneurship. Housed at University School, YEI also organizes the Enspire Entrepreneurship Educators conference and consults with scores of teachers across the region on how to build the entrepreneurial mindset in their students.
This summer, our Board recognized the vital importance of this work through youth-focused grants to YEI and other organizations working with young people as they figure out for themselves what it means to be an entrepreneur.
Morgan Foundation is pleased to announce that YEI founder and director, Greg Malkin, will serve as the next Burton D. Morgan Foundation Fellow. Malkin will help us translate lessons learned from our grantmaking into practical advice to teachers and schools as they grapple with the best ways to prepare students for a future in which entrepreneurial thinking will be an essential skill. Malkin and Morgan Foundation will be sharing lessons not only across our region, but also begin work with Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to influence the incorporation of youth entrepreneurship into a national network of after-school programs. We welcome Malkin to the team and look forward to strengthening the capacity of our already robust youth entrepreneurship ecosystem.