W.Va. To Participate in Effort to Educate Next Generation of Entrepreneurs and Innovators

September 07, 2006

CHARLESTON, W.Va. _ The West Virginia Department of Education has joined EntrepreneurshipWeek USA in a national effort to inspire, educate and encourage young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career choice.  

As a program partner, the West Virginia Department of Education will host an event Feb. 24 through March 3, 2007, with the theme, “What’s Your Big Idea? Take it On!”  

The initiative strives to inspire young people to think creatively and to turn their ideas into action – whether starting a new business, developing an innovation for an existing company or solving a problem that makes society better. Research shows that 41 percent of children ages 9 to 12 say they would like to start their own business.  

“Educating our young people about entrepreneurship and reinforcing the value that innovation brings to our economy is critical to America’s prosperity in the global society of the 21st century,” said state Superintendent Steve Paine. “This is just one more way we are helping West Virginia kids to compete in a fiercely competitive global world.”  

EntrepreneurshipWeek USA is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and by government, not-for-profit organizations and businesses, including The New York Times and Inc. magazine. Additionally, the U.S. House of Representatives noted the importance of entrepreneurship education by enacting a Resolution (HR 699) in June in support of a national entrepreneurship week.  

“We are delighted with the leadership and expertise that the West Virginia Department of Education brings to EntrepreneurshipWeek USA as a program partner,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “Young people have a natural desire for the independence and control that come with owning a business and being their own boss.”  

Entrepreneurship drives the U.S. economy. During the past 15 years, businesses less than five years old have accounted for about 70 percent of the net job creation in the United States. However, there are clear signs of massive competition from abroad.  

Americans in the future will need to generate more ideas and better innovations if the U.S. is to stay ahead of globally savvy countries like China and India.  

“My task in West Virginia is to develop an entrepreneurship program that may light a creative spark in every student,” said Susan Rice, entrepreneurship coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education. “I also want to help every teacher and student recognize that entrepreneurship is not only a career option, but a vehicle that teaches creative thinking and responsibility and improves academic performance.”

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