NFPA Member Mentors High School Students in Entrepreneurship

Larry Davis, President of Daman Products Company in South Bend, IN, believes that students should be exposed to real life entrepreneurship from real life entrepreneurs. That is why Daman mentors in the St. Joe CEO program in his community.

St. Joe CEO hosted a showcase day on June 20 for prospective area high school juniors and seniors with a desire to spend a portion of the next high school year immersed in real business activity at local businesses (of all different career types from manufacturing to marketing), and coached and mentored by seasoned business people. This will be the second year for the program in the South Bend area. The slots for 2016-17 were doubled after the success of the first year.

Entrepreneurship education seeks to prepare people, especially youth, to be responsible, enterprising individuals who become entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers and contribute to economic development and sustainable communities. The CEO program is much more than a textbook course. Rather, students are immersed in real-life learning experiences with the opportunity to take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes. Students accepted into this program spend two hours per school day for an entire school year developing their own individual business idea as well as participating in a group business plan.

When I spoke with Larry, he said that last year the CEO class in Indiana raised $40,000 with their business plan – Ignite Michiana. Their goal was $25,000. He said that through mentorship this program makes students aware of all the great businesses in their community and can really help keep these bright minds in the area.

Participating in such a program takes commitment, but teaching students about different careers and the education they need to get into them is extremely important. Don’t have the resources or time to commit to a mentorship program? NFPA’s Student Career Connections program can help you engage students in learning about careers within an afternoon. The program is flexible and allows you to choose from a variety of activities to interact with students, so it can fit any budget or schedule. Learn more about the program here.

Has your company participated in a mentorship program? Let us know! To tell us about your program participation, or for more information about how you can organize one in your community, contact Lynn Beyer at or 414-778-3364.

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