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Entrepreneurs 4 Kids: High School students learn from innovators and thinkers at Ann Arbor’s Tech Trek

“Something I learned from the event today that will work well for my business is doing more word-of-mouth advertising,” said Brianna, a student in Give Merit’s FATE program which blends project-based learning and mentorship to help students achieve career and personal goals.

“I’m looking for ideas to market and get my own business out there,” continued Brianna about a confectionary business she started.

On Friday, October 14, Brianna and 14 of her classmates at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy attended Ann Arbor’s Tech Trek, an opportunity enabled by Entrepreneurs 4 Kids (E4K), a Children’s Foundation initiative. For an entire day, students learned from innovators, thinkers, and business leaders to encourage them on their paths. The students were also  explored the world of tech and mobility careers at a TECHTalk series (a spin on TEDTalk) at the Michigan Theater, and Mobility Row – a street fair where kids got to have hands-on experiences with technology being developed right there in Ann Arbor.

Between the day’s events, students got to explore the University of Michigan campus and feel possibility in the air – asking themselves “what does my future hold?”.

A highlight of the day was when students got to work in small groups to do case studies, assessing business strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and more. E4K members, Dave Crysler and Steve Gunn, helped the students develop business strategies and offered thoughtful feedback on their market pitch.

The students lit up with excitement as they brainstormed compelling marketing campaigns for a protective device that teaches young football players proper form to prevent potentially life-changing injuries.

“Heads up, Chicago! Heads up, Detroit!” exclaimed the students, practicing their clever pitch for E4K mentors and underscoring not only the product’s purpose but the students’ ingenuity for creative marketing.

“This is all real-world stuff; to learn and create a cohesive pitch,” Crysler said. “It’s been really impactful to partner with FATE and see the growth the kids are going through.”

With E4K’s support, FATE students are ahead of the curve because they are creating business solutions with their own ideas to get a leg up on their future careers. What can take years to learn on the job, these students are learning right now.

As a result of opportunities and experiences like Tech Trek, students believe in their ideas, themselves, and feel inspired to turn their entrepreneurial goals and visions into reality.

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