West Lafayette, Ind.
Timothy R. Peoples, director
The problem: With few incentives for college graduates to remain in their communities, many Indiana young people leave the state for job opportunities elsewhere. The state needed a way to encourage innovation and create new businesses that could help retain educated, technology-oriented professionals in Indiana.
The solution: The Purdue Technology Centers of West Lafayette created the "Purdue Research Park Entrepreneurship Academy" in July 2007 to plant the entrepreneurship seed in Indiana's youth. Each year, the Entrepreneurship 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, 131 students from 54 high schools in 33 Indiana counties have attended the academy.
During the program, students learn about forming and managing a technology start-up, focusing on problem analysis, market assessment, competitive landscape analysis, marketing tools and presentation skills. The curriculum is based on the work of Wendy Kennedy, international entrepreneurship consultant and author of So What? Who Cares? Why You? Working in groups of five, students present 15-minute investor pitches in a modified business plan competition where top-performing teams receive tuition vouchers to attend Purdue.
The program also provides an opportunity for high school students to learn from entrepreneurs. "Although the Entrepreneurship Academy does not directly involve clients, it offers a unique experience for the entrepreneurs in the Purdue Research Park," says Director Timothy R. Peoples. "Many of them volunteer by being a mentor to a team, where they are able to share their knowledge and talk about their experiences. It offers them an opportunity to give back to their community in an extraordinary way."
Phone: (740) 593-4331
Fax: (740) 593-1996
PO Box 959
Athens, OH 45701-1565