Thirty high school students from the Chicago area received innovative math, science and green technology-based business life skills training at Roosevelt University in July during the second annual Green Teen$ Entrepreneurship Academy, which was made possible through the generosity of the Motorola Solutions Foundation.
Led by Roosevelt’s Heller College of Business, its faculty and staff as well as successful green-tech business entrepreneurs, the Academy provided incoming juniors, seniors and recent graduates from area high schools with opportunities to work with green-technology entrepreneurs, tour high-tech green facilities in the region and to develop their own green business plans.
Students worked in six five-member teams, developing business plans that were presented Friday, July 15 to a panel of judges that included: Joe Abraham of BOSI Performance Institute; Steve Davis of the Will Group; and Paul Steinberg, chief technology officer of Motorola Solutions Foundation. The judges chose one winning team of students (pictured above meeting judges), known as the RipeRite company, which developed a business plan for a product that would improve the fruit and vegetable ripening process.
Winning team members, who received $500 tuition scholarships for classes at Roosevelt University included: Lakeview High School student Tatyana Neal, 16, of Riverdale; Fenger High School student Keisha Davis, 18, of Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood; Streamwood High School student Lana Sutker, 17, of Streamwood; Noble Street College Preparatory School student Angelica Solano, 17, of Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood; and Muchin College Preparatory School student Jaylen Brown of Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood.
The judges were so impressed with some of the students’ presentations that additional scholarships were awarded on the spot during the luncheon award ceremony by Abraham, who gave a $500 scholarship for leadership to Chicago Bulls College Preparatory School student Taayler Gray, 16, of Chicago, as well as by Davis, who made two $250 scholarship awards for leadership to Streamwood High School students Afra Khanani, 17, and Sutker.
"All of the students’ performances were outstanding and we were very impressed with their presentations,” added Steinberg.
Keynote speaker for the luncheon event was Roosevelt alumna Donna Gaines (BA, ’83), the president and chief executive officer of Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs.
“The Academy has given teens expressing interest in becoming entrepreneurs the kind of foundation they will need to one day in the future start their own businesses,” said Terri Friel, dean of the Heller College of Business. “We’d like to thank the Motorola Solutions Foundation for making the Academy and this wonderful opportunity for tomorrow’s budding entrepreneurs possible.”
A $10,000 grant was given to the University for the program by the Motorola Solutions Foundation, which is the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions Inc., as part of Foundation’s Innovation Generation program. Designed to inspire students to learn about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the program has equipped youth throughout the region and across the nation with skills that are essential to their future success.
“The future of American innovation depends on a diverse pipeline of critical thinkers who are well versed in STEM principles,” said Matt Blakely, director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “Through the Innovation Generation program, we are thrilled to partner with programs like the Green Teen$ Entrepreneurship Academy at Roosevelt University, which is providing students and teachers with the necessary tools they need to explore their STEM interests and pursue innovation.”
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