Two Years ago, I found myself staring at an acceptance letter wondering what I was getting myself into. I had applied to be a part of the first Entrepreneurship Academy ever to be initiated in Pennsylvania. Going in, I was completely clueless about what the year was going to yield. Although as the weeks went on, the 22 students from seven different schools had acclimated quite well with each other. The program was designed to give high school seniors a chance to look at the world from that of an entrepreneur’s perspective. By taking numerous paid personality tests along with strength and weakness finders, each student learned what they needed to address in order to build their abilities, confidence, and initiative to become successful.

The opportunity to be a part of this program, was a once in a lifetime ordeal. After the completion of the class I had taken some time to examined my new skill set that I had developed from the class in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the course. I was quick to find that my perspective towards everything had drastically changed. How I looked at the world had changed. How my thoughts processed had changed. How I interacted with adults had changed. The language I used had changed. Most importantly, the way I approached obstacles had changed.

It was as if the class had changed me as an individual on multiple levels. I felt like a transformed high school graduate who was a step ahead of a large percentage of other 2015 graduating seniors in Pennsylvania because none of them had the Entrepreneurship Academy to steer them in the right direction.

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says “The best time to plant a seed was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

I believe that the best way to improve our local economy is to teach our youth what it means to be an entrepreneur and let them grow the confidence to take risks and to pioneer into new segments of business. With the Academy about to begin its 3rd year, the results of this program’s success is already being seen. With multiple Academy graduates venturing into viable business propositions and some that have created legitimate businesses are underway. The program as unique as it is, has created a new generation of entrepreneurs.