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On Sunday afternoon, March 8, I saw our future! I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak to a classroom full of young entrepreneurs at the Addison TreeHouse. Their entrepreneurial development program, TYE (TiE Young Entrepreneurs), features young high school students who give up 10 consecutive Sunday afternoons to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit at Addison TreeHouse! I spoke about the importance of learning problem solving and communications skills early in their educational careers and the lifetime value of persistence, learning to overcome failures, and their future importance in our global and national economy. “At TiE we have developed the THINK-PLAN-SELL-MAKE-CHECK-WIN construct to teach kids about how to start a business,” says Ram Viswanathan, CEO of Nathan Research and board member at TiE Dallas, who also chairs the TYE Program at Addison TreeHouse. “Sessions covered idea generation, planning a venture, selling, producing the product/service, preparing a financial plan, and running a venture. It has been exciting to see the students realize their creative potential as they came up with some very innovative ideas and business plans.”
The TYE Program’s weekly classes run for 10 weeks and are taught by successful entrepreneurs from the DFW area who volunteer their time and feel passionate about giving back to the community. Case studies and exercises are led by younger entrepreneurs and student peers who have gone through their own entrepreneurial journeys more recently and allowing students to relate to their experiences more easily.
Students work in teams to brainstorm business ideas and develop an operating plan to implement the ideas. Each team is assigned a mentor who guides them in developing their ideas into a viable business plan. More than 20 students formed six teams that will compete on the final day of the program, April 19. These young people are our future; their ideas may well grow into the next Microsoft, Google, or some other amazing new thing that will create jobs and make a real difference in our world. And each of these students will always know that Addison was the place that helped their ideas and dreams become reality!