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Entrepreneurship Program Reaches New Heights

The Steward School
Program marks two important milestones
The seventh year of Steward’s Entrepreneurship Program marked two important milestones: the most-ever program participants (nearly 40) and the most graduates with a diploma endorsement (11). The year was also a busy one, with two major local business collaborations and a public event with Saxon Shoes that was an outcome of last year’s projects. 

The Entrepreneurship Program partners with local businesses every year, explained Melissa Freed, program coordinator and Upper School academic dean. The business owners invite the students to learn about their business goals, successes, and challenges. The students prepare proposals to address those challenges, which they present live. Many times, the students’ suggestions are implemented.

In the 2022-23 school year, the students worked with Gather co-working spaces in the fall and Recognizing Children’s Gifts Behavioral Health Network (RCG) in the spring semester. Tarsha and Sherman Adkins, parents of Jordyn ’25 and Gabby ’31, run RCG. RCG promotes and enhances the development of individuals with special needs. 

“Upon deciding to be a host site for the Entrepreneurship Program, we were confident that the students at The Steward School would share some good insights; however, we had no idea of the high level of creativity and ingenuity the students would provide our organization,” Mr. Adkins said. “We were pleasantly surprised by the many fresh ideas and new perspectives that the students provided in the areas of employee recruitment and retention, along with the marketing of our School Preparatory Program. It was clear to us that the students spent a vast amount of time studying our business and critically thinking of ways to solve some of our pressing challenges.”

The student benefits go far beyond business acumen: “When our students see that a business owner genuinely wants to hear their opinions, it’s affirming to them,” Mrs. Freed said. “They are gaining confidence and a comfort level with adults.”

Mrs. Freed, who has run the program since 2017, will step back in the coming school year. Brad Kovach, Dean of the Bryan Innovation Lab, will take the lead, with Mrs. Freed’s support and guidance. “I’m thrilled to have played a role in the program’s growth,” Mrs. Freed said, “and excited to see it thrive under Mr. Kovach’s expert leadership.”

View the photos of Entrepreneurship Program students presenting to RCG.


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