Growing young entrepreneurs….plant the seed!

Learn and share best practices to empower our youth to become “entrepreneurial” at the upcoming Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference.

According to the latest available Small Business Administration data, the U.S. is home to 28 million small businesses and they employ about half of the nation’s workforce. The employment situation in the U.S. and in Michigan seems to be improving with June 2014 unemployment rates of 6.1 and 7.5 percent respectively. A closer look at these unemployment rates reveal that 21 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds were unemployed, compared to 10.5 percent of 20-24 year olds and 5 percent of those 25 and older. These statistics represent that some segments of the population continue to struggle to be active members of the labor force, particularly our young people.

Creating the next generation of entrepreneurs is one solution to reducing these high unemployment rates of young people in the U.S. Most small businesses have only one employee-themselves, making them sole proprietors. Of these sole proprietors, 687,627 resided in Michigan in 2012 and contributed 27 billion in income. Helping young people discover their passions, find work that is needed, develop skills to be self-sufficient and learn what it takes to create a job are not typical topics discussed in school, even though they are essential components to “becoming” an entrepreneur.

How does a community engage young people in entrepreneurship? Building tomorrow’s entrepreneurs is one of four tracks offered at the 3rd annual Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference (CEC) provided by Michigan State University Extension. A number of breakout sessions will look at innovative ways to infuse youth entrepreneurship into your community. 

A few initiatives that will be discussed are:

  • The importance of a nurturing entrepreneurial community
  • How to do a start-up weekend
  • School, business and community partnerships
  • Growing entrepreneurs: gardening, arts and culture
  • Implementing a youth entrepreneurship academy
  • The maker revolution - connecting with youth
  • Value of the young professional for community success
  • Youth are the future of our communities

By attending our upcoming CEC conference, Oct. 7-8 in Tawas, Michigan, you can learn how to empower youth by providing them with experiences and opportunities that will help them successfully transition to the work force and contribute to our economies growth. For additional trainings, articles and resources to help young people explore entrepreneurship, check out the Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development websites. 

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