Grow Wabash County receives 80/20 Foundation grant for student entrepreneurship

Wabash County, IN __Grow Wabash County is starting strong in 2021 by receiving $15,750 in grant funding from the 80/20 Foundation Trust to launch the Wabash County High School Entrepreneurship Collaborative for local students.

This new collaborative will expand upon the groundwork laid out by Grow Wabash County, in partnership with Heartland Career Center, Manchester Community Schools, MSD of Wabash County and Wabash City Schools, to provide a dynamic, more streamlined entrepreneurship curriculum for students looking to get a head start in the competitive business world.

“Entrepreneurship, for all ages, has long been a pillar of focus for Grow Wabash County,” Keith Gillenwater, President and CEO of Grow Wabash County, said. “There is no shortage of great ideas in Wabash County, especially within our school districts and we think it is imperative that we allow for our students to explore this career path in the classroom. We are excited to create this program in our schools and we are grateful to the 80/20 Foundation Trust helping us become a hotbed of innovation and ideas for years to come.”

Students participating in the entrepreneurship program will utilize the CO.STARTERS Generator curriculum which will walk them through every step in the process of starting a business and will include guest speakers and local professionals to help reinforce those lessons. Those students will then have opportunities to take what they have learned and work with fellow student entrepreneurs to apply those skills to real-world scenarios through a Wabash County chapter of the STARTEedUP program.

“Students are exploring their passions more deeply and are generating phenomenal ideas for potential activities,” Shelly Leifer, business and entrepreneurship teacher at Manchester Jr. – Sr. High School, said. “The CO.STARTERS curriculum is making the prep work more manageable for me and for my students. I am so grateful for the support Manchester business students receive from Grow Wabash County and other passionate community members as they prepare for local and state pitch competitions.”

Grow Wabash County will also host its annual INnovate Wabash County pitch competition in the spring as well as encourage students to compete in the Innovate WithIN statewide pitch competition. These events will allow for students to demonstrate what they have learned and pitch their business ideas in front of panels made up of local business professionals, potential investors and other community leaders.

Grow Wabash County is grateful for the 80/20 Foundation’s partnership in this new collaborative to support some of Wabash County’s most enterprising young minds.

Special thanks are also in order for the local business teachers, Brian Evans from Heartland Career Center, Shelly Leifer from Manchester Jr. – Sr. High School, Kari Johnson from Southwood Jr. – Sr. High School, Ted Bahney from Northfield Jr. Sr. High School and Whitney Myers from Wabash High School, for buying into this new program and providing students with a unique opportunity to discover their passions through entrepreneurship.