Youth Entrepreneurs is a nationwide program with more than 100 schools and 3,000 students participating in it.
This school year Watford City High School became the first in North Dakota to take on the program, and people involved in the project hope it creates the next generation of builders and inventors for the area.
Aaron Cummings, who is the Youth Entrepreneurs instructor, said the class helps kids build entrepreneurial skills and understand how to solve problems for profit.
The class is currently a pilot program, and it is being funded by First International Bank, and Trust in Watford.
“It promotes capitalism and free enterprise,” said Stephen Stenehjem, CEO First International Bank, and Trust in Watford
Stenehjem and his wife Gretchen thought the class would be great for the youth in the community.
“Educate young people that business is not such a scary thing and anybody can get into it and try it,” said Stenehjem.
The class is year round and kids attend it daily for one hour.
During that time kids learn how to invent, promote, and sell products through the creation of a business and games like Disruptous, Boneyard, Speak Out, and Auctions
“The games really help because you learn trade and others you learn how to invent stuff,” said Angyl Solomon, who is a student in the class.
In the class students don’t get grades, instead, they’re measured on their success through the accumulation of classroom currency which they get through participation.
They will even have the opportunity to show the community what they’ve learned with their own startup businesses.
“Some of the products include bath bombs and shower bombs, candy, pies, hoodies jewelry. Those kinds of items,” said Cummings.
Some of the students are already seeing dollars signs
“Since I was in junior high I wanted to start my own business,” said Solomon
Cummings and Stenehjem hope the class encourages students to open those businesses in Watford and create new opportunities for the community.