Madison, WI – the American and Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs Network founder and Executive Director, Ben Hobbins has been awarded one of four 2010 Innovation Champion awards for the state of Wisconsin ‘’in recognition of work in advancing entrepreneurship in Wisconsin and its positive effect on our community’’ by the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, WI SBDC and UW Extension. This year’s other winners include Joe Kremer of the Wisconsin Technology Council, Jan Gallagher -past Director of SBDC UW La Crosse, and Vicki Lobermeier -Director of Entrepreneurship Activities at UW Stevens Point.
“I am so honored’’, says the youth network’s Hobbins, ’’I dedicate this award to the transformational promise of this project, America’s youth and the new generations of young entrepreneurs and inventreneurs just beginning to capture the power of free enterprise as the economic and social engine of our nation.’’
In 2006, Ben founded the ‘’American and Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs Networks’’ project, an initiative that creates, develops, promotes and links standards-based private and public entrepreneurship education and associated business assets to the K-12/K-16 environment over web-based platforms. Today, the initiative is going mainstream in Wisconsin and across the nation.
“Ben is being recognized for the hard work and his dedication to the advancement of youth entrepreneurship in our state and country’’, says Bud Gayhart, Director of the SBDC at UW-Whitewater and Director at the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center. ‘’The Youth Entrepreneurs Network is a visionary project that marks a real breakthrough for youth entrepreneurship education’’.
The project is an independently operating 501c3 led by Hobbins and a strategic alliance joining, linking and leveraging agencies and the vast resources and assets of the SBDC state and national networks, SBA, UW Extension and Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Networks within and across the American and Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs Network. Ben is known as a prolific networker, connecting regions, cultures, industries, professions, people and resources together into strategic networks that are known for benefiting and providing win-win situations for all individuals and organizations involved.
Hobbins’ American and Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs project was launched April 14th 2010 after years of development at the State Capitol as the SBDC Network celebrated it’s 30th and WEN it’s 5th anniversaries, presided over by UW EX Chancellor David Wilson, Eric Ness of the SBA, Wisconsin Commerce Secretary Aaron Olver, Kim Kindshi and Gayle Kugler from UW EX/DEED, and Ben Hobbins from the Youth Entrepreneurs Network.
‘’The Youth Entrepreneurs Network provides linkage and crossover in youth K12/K16 education with and into what we do at SBDCs here in Wisconsin and around the country’’, says Gayle Kugler, state Director of the SBDC and WEN networks for Wisconsin and recently elected to the board of Directors at the National Association of SBDCs.
‘’We are thrilled for Ben. SBDC network states have expressed interest in joining the American Youth Entrepreneurs Network supranet, with the Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs Network Pilot leading the way,’’ states Kim Kindschi of UW EX’s DEED division.
‘’What could be more exciting than having Wisconsin lead the way in creating the state pilot and development of the American network’’, says Hobbins. “Thank you Wisconsin for this wonderful honor. With such honors come responsibility to inspire and lead, and this is what I fully intend to do on behalf of our free market system, our state, nation and all youth’’.
In 2009, Ben won Wisconsin’s first Popular Science Top 10 Invention award. In 2008, Ben was awarded ‘’Best of Show’’ for his products at the Midwest’s largest show, the Chicagoland Outdoor Show. He was Wisconsin’s ‘’Featured Inventor’’ at the Ideas to Profits Conference in 2009 and now keynote speaker at various inventors, entrepreneurs, leadership, conservation and outdoors conferences around the state and country. An even larger national honor is on the slate for 2011, to be announced soon.
A Wisconsin native, inventor and project ambassador Ben Hobbins is a serial entrepreneur, tri-lingual and educated both in the USA and in Europe at top educational institutions.
American and Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs Network
Gayle Kugler –Director UW EX/DEED, SBDC, WEN, A & WI YEN P-2 Co-founder
Ben Hobbins –American and WI YEN Founder/Exec Director, WI Inventor, Entrepreneur