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Purdue plants seeds for next generation

by Bridget Lair

June 2011

Indiana's young people are gaining experience and making connections for their careers through a new program that encourages innovation and fosters entrepreneurship for future technology-oriented professionals in the Hoosier state. The winner of NBIA's 2010 Incubator Innovation Award, the Purdue Technology Centers of West Lafayette's "Purdue Research Park Entrepreneurship Academy" is becoming a national leader in educating tomorrow's entrepreneurs.

Purdue created the Entrepreneurship Academy in 2007 with initial funding from a U.S. Department of Labor WIRED grant. The program also benefits from local sponsorships and volunteer hours from mentors, faculty and previous academy graduates. Each year, the academy selects 50 high school juniors and seniors with an aptitude for math, science and technology to participate in the weeklong program at Purdue University. So far, 178 students from 82 high schools in 42 Indiana counties have attended the academy.

"We want to communicate through the program that you can really impact the future of your incubator by creating tomorrow's entrepreneurial leaders at home," says Tim Peoples, director of the Purdue Technology Centers of West Lafayette. "We are all doing a lot to help entrepreneurs today, and we want to ensure that 10 years down the road is robust and full for the next generation. We are doing this by planting the seed early on to ensure entrepreneur development."

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Keywords: youth entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial pool, NBIA programs

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