UA Hosts Student Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program

July 22, 2015

Youth's a thing these days.

Even better than extending entrepreneurial education opportunities to students is extending them to those who might not otherwise be in a position to take advantage of them. 

The UA's Walton Business College last week hosted 39 aspiring student entrepreneurs (right) for its residential Spirit Scholars program, which teaches entrepreneurship and innovation to first generation, low-income and under-represented students.

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Thirty-nine entrepreneurial teens participated in the Spirit Scholars program held July 12-17 at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. The residential summer program, funded by Morton H. Fleischer, co-founder and chair of STORE Capital Corp. (NYSE: STOR), teaches entrepreneurship and innovation to first generation, low income and under-represented students.

“The University of Arkansas is proud to host Spirit Scholars,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “We appreciate Mort Fleischer for giving these high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to visit our campus and to learn about business and entrepreneurial programs.”

“I am delighted to sponsor such an important and valuable learning opportunity for these deserving young students,” Fleischer said. “Many of the participants are destined to become future business innovators and leaders.”

Throughout the week, teens lived on campus, participated in business-focused activities, worked on a business plan case study and presented their team solutions.

“I am impressed by the outstanding business plans these teens presented,” said Charles Robinson, vice chancellor for diversity and community. “Through the Spirit Scholars program, high school students get to experience living on campus and thinking like business professionals. It is a unique experience for many of these teens.”

Campers live in dorms and attend seminars and workshops on campus. They hear from local business owners and attend workshops regarding business planning, research, marketing, social responsibility, accounting and finance. The Spirit Scholars program also includes college preparation classes, which focus on ACT college readiness assessment testing.

“This program gives many campers their first exposure to college and helps them envision potential careers,” said Leslie Yingling, director of the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education. “It is invaluable.”

Faculty, staff and supporters of Walton College work directly with students during the week facilitating workshops, guest speakers and classes.

“This is a natural fit for Walton,” said Barbara Lofton, director of Diversity Programs. “Innovation and Entrepreneurship are a major focus of our strategic plan at Walton College and the Spirit Scholar program supports these same elements.”


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