Wis. Youth Entrepreneurs Network: Southwest SBDC wins DPI award

WYEN Media Contact

Ben Hobbins, Executive Director

[email protected]

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Tony Evers announced that “Marketplace for Kids” -led by Southwest SBDC Director Gary Smith won an esteemed DPI award. “I am pleased to announce that Marketplace for Kids has been selected to receive an Standing Up for Rural Schools, Libraries, and Communities award’’ said state Superintendent Tony Evers. ‘’This is a tremendous honor, one which recognizes collaborative efforts for youth entrepreneurship with partners in the community.’’ Marketplace for Kids is a program inside the Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs Network, the private-public strategic partnership with UW Extension, WI SBDCs, SBA and DPI.

Marketplace for Kids is a program developed by North Dakota SBDC, an innovative approach for introducing elementary school students to real life entrepreneurship. Mr. Smith recently introduced the program successfully to elementary school children in southwest Wisconsin in a one-day spring event that included age-appropriate entrepreneurship seminars and activities for students and teachers.

‘’We are thrilled that Gary has gained recognition for one of our agency’s efforts in promoting youth entrepreneurship within the scope of the WYEN project’’, says UW EX State SBDC Director and WYEN Phase 2 co-Founder, Gayle Kugler.

Youth entrepreneurship education programs such as Marketplace for Kids, SBDC’s Youth Entrepreneurs Camp, and others in development are part of the WYEN network’s ‘’Youth Marketplace’’ and ‘’Teen Marketplace’’ network rubriques designed to tie, connect and integrate standards-based K-12 entrepreneurship and career development curricula, activities and events within the Wisconsin educational environment. Southwest SBDC will lead WYEN efforts to introduce Marketplace for Kids to elementary school children across the state.

‘’Our youth are the true drivers of American job creation and our state’s economic future,’’ says WYEN founder and Executive Director Ben Hobbins. ‘’We commend Gary’s efforts in delivery of Marketplace for Kids to elementary students in southwest WI. The network’s array of educational and professional resources, events and related activities for K12 youth entrepreneurship are designed to allow students to drive economic development early in life, help them discover what brings joy in their lives, develop communities and regions, and help keep our students here.’’

The WYEN network leverages and integrates public and private assets, resources and entities at the state, county, district and community levels to propel youth in the K-12 environment into real world entrepreneurship. The network is being developed as a ‘’one-stop-shop’’ aggregator site (http://www.WYEN.ORG) that drills down standards-based youth entrepreneurship educational and career development resources, activities and events –nation to state to region, to counties and districts, to school sites and into communities.

December 2010, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs Network (WYEN) led by WI State Superintendent Evers and WYEN Executive Director Hobbins signed a strategic partnership formalizing their 12-month working relationship and co-development activities taking place for standards-based youth entrepreneurship and career development curricula, activities and events for the nation’s pilot, WYEN.

The 2006 WYEN project is a 501c3 funded through grants, sponsorships, donations and memberships obtained from public and private institutions, businesses and individuals and provides an ideal development tool. Interested private and public institutions, foundations, businesses and individuals wishing to become drivers and partners in WYEN should contact founder and Executive Director, Ben Hobbins at [email protected].

WYEN is private-public partnership with University of Wisconsin Extension, Wisconsin Small Business Development Centers, US Small Business Administration, Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network and WI DPI. Other active development partners include Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Dept of Workforce Development, Dept of Financial Institutions, the Kern Family Foundation, Quarles & Brady, Wisconsin Business Development Corporation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporations of Wisconsin, Madison College, WI Association of School Councils, Southwest Area Technical College, UW-Whitewater, Heck of an Idea, Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, Quarles & Brady, & more.