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Ann Arbor workshops give school-age entrepreneurs a “Running Start”

Courtesy of Debra Power

It's never too early to plant the seeds of entrepreneurship. Today's curious kid could be tomorrow's entrepreneurial star.

That's the idea behind the new program, Running Start, a four-part series of mentor-led workshops designed for middle and high school students interested in entrepreneurship.

Debra Power is Running Start’s founder and the president of Power Marketing Research in Ann Arbor. She joined The Next Idea to talk about guiding the next generation of Michigan entrepreneurs.

Listen to the full conversation above, or read highlights below.

On Running Start's goal

"Running Start is a series of mentor-led workshops for youth to get the skills they need to become entrepreneurs and hopefully, eventually, start their own businesses," Power said.

On the kinds of skills Running Start focuses on

"I spoke to Ann Arbor Spark, Michigan Works, and others, and said, ‘What are the important skills that employers are looking for?’" Powers said. "They told me that problem solving and creative thinking were really critical issues, so we’re going to emphasize those throughout the program."

On the role mentors play

"When students are in the workshop, they’ll actually be working through their business idea in a variety of ways," Powers said. "They’ll have mentors who will lead them through a workbook that has a series of activities." 

"So if you can envision a group of youth sitting together talking about, ‘Well what kind of company could I create? What problem can I solve in the world.’ So they’ll work on these business ideas with the mentors to guide them through the process."

The Next Idea is Michigan Radio’s project devoted to new innovations and ideas that will change our state.

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