CHICAGO, ILL, DEARBORN, Mich., July 28, 2010 — Twenty-five students from eight Chicago Public High Schools were immersed in entrepreneurship at the 2010 Future Founders Academy as they competed in a weeklong interactive summer business camp hosted by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC). The 3rd Annual Future Founders Academy culminated in the award of $30,000 in Ford Blue Oval Scholarships, and provided a backstage pass for the aspiring entrepreneurs to meet with a wide array of some of Chicago's top entrepreneurial businesses. For the second year, Mayor Daley and the Chicago City Council honored Future Founders' winning students with a resolution recognizing their tremendous achievement.
The Future Founders Academy was made possible through a partnership of the CEC, Ford Motor Company Fund, and the SME Education Foundation. The highly engaging week of programming exposed students to entrepreneurship in Chicago including green-tech businesses, leading technology corporations including Microsoft, a gourmet pretzel manufacturer, and a presentation skills workshop at Chicago's famed Second City Theater. The Academy provided team building and individual leadership development opportunities and culminated in a business plan competition. Students gained important entrepreneurial skills including networking, sales, technology, critical thinking, financing, economics, business etiquette and public speaking. The final competition resulted in four winning teams receiving Ford Blue Oval Scholarship Awards totaling $30,000. In addition, students won $10,000 in cash prizes.
"Future Founders exposes motivated high school students in underserved areas to careers in entrepreneurship. Our goal is that the students we work with will soon open their own businesses, work for other entrepreneurs and bring an entrepreneurial spirit to corporations. Through Future Founders Academy we continue to ignite the entrepreneurial spark within each student by showing them the benefits of an entrepreneurial career," said Scott Issen, managing director at the CEC.
"Ford Motor Company Fund is delighted to once again participate in an entrepreneurial program which fosters the development of real world skills — especially in math and science — in a fun learning environment," stated Mike Schmidt, director, Education and Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. "Our Ford Blue Oval Scholarships are designed to support the Future Founders Academy's focus on a positive hands-on approach to learning which connects Chicago entrepreneurs to the next generation of entrepreneurs."
"Our participation in this Academy is one of the many ways that the financial resources of Ford Fund continue to make a difference in the lives of the South Side community of which Ford has been a part for over 100 years," Schmidt added.
On June 25, student teams faced their final competition — vying for Ford Blue Oval Scholarships — with the presentation of their product's business case to a panel of judges from the entrepreneurial community which included Ford Motor Company, Motorola, Microsoft, and the SME Education Foundation, among others.
Ford Blue Oval Scholarship criteria requires that a student is interested in pursuing a Science, Technology, Engineering or Manufacturing related career and plans to pursue a college degree. Scholarship dollars will be administered by the SME Education Foundation and be distributed through the student's school's Financial Aid Office.
The 2010 Ford Blue Oval Scholarship Winners:
1st PLACE - $4,000 SCHOLARSHIPS EACH
- Eboni Croom, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
- Marcella Liggins, Junior, Chicago Vocational Career Academy
- Terrance Thompson, Senior, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
2nd PLACE- $3,000 SCHOLARSHIPS EACH
- Ryan Lewis, Junior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
- Mianisha Maxon, Senior, School of Entrepreneurship at the South Shore Campus
- Saleha Vhora, Senior, Thornton Township High School
3rd PLACE- $2,000 SCHOLARSHIPS EACH
- Parish Betts, Senior, Chicago Vocational Career Academy
- Cynthia Manzo, Junior, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences
- Meagan Sims, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
4th PLACE - $1,000 SCHOLARSHIPS EACH
- Tatianna Collins, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
- LaShanee Lawrence, Junior, Chicago Vocational Career Academy
- Malcolm Wynn, Senior, School of Entrepreneurship at the South Shore Campus
Future Founders Academy:The 2010 Future Founders Academy is a continuation of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center's Future Founders program that fosters entrepreneurship in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools on Chicago's South Side. During the 2009-10 school year, 160 students from five Chicago Public high schools received insight on creating and running businesses of their own. Throughout the school year, some of the region's top entrepreneurs mentor and advise students as they develop business plans, culminating in an annual citywide business plan competition.
Since its inception in 2005, Future Founders has served 500 students from 10 Chicago public high schools. 400 entrepreneurs and sponsors have contributed 4,500 volunteer hours with more than $165,000 being awarded in cash, prizes and college scholarships.
In addition to the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Future Founders Academy is made possible by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Motorola Foundation, AT&T, Harris Bank, Smart Bet Charity, Microsoft and the CME Group Foundation, and in partnership with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
The Academy includes students from eight South Side Chicago high schools: ACE (Architecture, Construction & Engineering) Technical Charter School, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, Chicago Vocational Career (CVCA), the School of Entrepreneurship at the South Shore Campus, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Thornton Township High School, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and George Washington High School.