Student entrepreneurship initiative selected as an official event of the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Week.
CONWAY, AR (Oct. 24, 2018): The Conductor today announced that its High School Startup Day program, presented in partnership with Junior Achievement of Arkansas and the University of Central Arkansas, has been selected as an Official Event of the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Week. Global Entrepreneurship Week is an initiative that inspires entrepreneurship and innovation during one week in November. The initiative reaches millions of people every year, and is supported by world leaders in over 170 countries in collaboration with more than 15,000 partner organizations. The initiative is led by the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
The Conductor’s High School Startup Day is a half-day event held once a semester on the University of Central Arkansas campus. At the event, high school students convene at UCA and work in teams to identify and analyze a problem they face in high school education, then collaborate with their peers to conceptualize a tangible solution. Students learn entrepreneurial principles in a fast-paced, hands-on format, and work in teams to identify and communicate a problem statement, spend time researching and validating their problem, identify key stakeholders, conduct customer discovery with their peers, and develop a presentation that is presented to a panel of judges. The competition has previously served hundreds of students from around the state.
After the Conductor saw recurring success through its talent development andyouth entrepreneurship program, the Global Entrepreneurship Network selected High School Startup Day as an Official Event of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and published an Official Playbook of the event so that it can be scaled internationally in 2018.
“High School Startup Day is an incredible opportunity for students around the world to be exposed to entrepreneurship as part of their education and career training. This toolkit will enable schools to tap into the Global Entrepreneurship Network and easily replicate a program that we’ve seen succeed in Arkansas,” said Yuval Yarden, Director for Ecosystem Engagement at Global Entrepreneurship Network. “The Conductor has proven this program to be valuable to its community, and we’re excited to promote this toolkit globally and watch it similarly impact new global communities.”
A pilot of the event was launched in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Polydor Tangeli, a Delegate to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress. Tangeli visited Arkansas in 2009 through the International Visitor Leadership Program, and subsequently founded Groupe Mosala, an organization partnered with the U.S. Embassy and the Global Entrepreneurship Network that promotes youth entrepreneurship in the DR Congo. Tangeli met Conductor CEO Kim Lane at the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in South Africa where she was serving as a U.S. Delegate. After learning about the Conductor’s talent development initiatives, Tangeli visited the Conductor team in Conway to benchmark the Conductor’s youth entrepreneurship programs. He later partnered with a local bank and the Chamber of Commerce in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to launch the Conductor’s High School Startup Day in Africa. At the event, the Groupe Mosala team taught hundreds of students about financial literacy and entrepreneurship, and opened up a bank account for every student who participated. Each of the seven students on the winning team was awarded a scholarship to attend high school the following year.
“High School Startup Day led to a major paradigm shift in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Tangeli said. “For the first time, we saw students make the transition from being job seekers to job creators.”
Since its launch in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the event has been run multiple times, reaching several hundred students.
“One of the core facets of the Conductor’s mission is economic empowerment. If we can educate students at a young age that entrepreneurship is a viable career path, it can be transformational,” Lane said. “High School Startup Day is an intense event that immerses students into the entrepreneurial mindset, and gives them the tools they need to formulate a solution. Not only does it get the wheels turning in a different way, but it empowers the next generation to take an active initiative in solving the real-life problems they face.”
The Conductor will be hosting High School Startup Day during Global Entrepreneurship Week on November 12, 2018. Any Arkansas high school is invited to participate in High School Startup Day. There is room for 16 teams to participate, and spots are first-come, first-served. Each school may bring a maximum of two teams with a maximum of six students on each team. To learn more or register for the event, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ high-school-startup-day-2018- tickets-50539019568.