W.Va. Educators, Businesses Work Together to Create Strategy to Promote Next Generation of Entrepreneurs and Innovators

February 28, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education is hosting a day-long workshop with students, educators, entrepreneurs, business owners and others in an effort to develop an entrepreneur education plan for West Virginia schools.

The event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Charleston Marriott Towncenter hotel. Wes Davis, a senior at Point Pleasant High School in Mason County and the state Future Farmers of America president, will share his success with his egg and chicken business. Other participants include representatives from the Charleston Area Alliance, West Virginia Small Business Development Center, Center for Economic Options, Vision Shared, Marshall University, Bridgemont Community and Technical College, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and others.

“Educating our young people about entrepreneurship and reinforcing the value that innovation brings to our economy is critical to America’s prosperity in the 21st century,” said state Superintendent Jorea Marple. “Entrepreneurs and the small businesses many of them start have helped our country and state to prosper.”

Across the country, small businesses represent about 99.7 percent of all employers and provide up to 80 percent of new jobs every year, according to the Small Business Administration. In West Virginia, federal statistics show that small business owners fuel the state economy with 97 percent of West Virginia companies being classified as small businesses.

Students from Barrackville Elementary in Marion County will demonstrate their small business and entrepreneur skills Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. by selling lemonade. The task is part of the Lemonade Stand Project, which allows students to learn the basics of entrepreneurship. The project, launched in 2007, incorporates math, reading, composition, social studies and higher level thinking skills as students determine costs using various recipes and set the selling price. Students also developed a marketing plan, named their business, purchased lemonade ingredients, assigned tasks and wrote a final report detailing what they learned.

Results of the work session will be used to develop efforts to make sure younger students know about entrepreneurship as a career choice as well as help older students who may have entrepreneur ideas launch their businesses.

For more information, contact Gene Coulson with the Office of Career and Technical Innovation at 304-558-2389 or the Office of Communication at (304) 558-2699.

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