Middle School Program Teaches Students About Entrepreneurial Business

by Emily Finlay, Public Relations Writer

Cedarville University is partnering with Southgate Baptist Church and Springfield Christian Youth Ministries to bring a program that will improve the futures of inner-city children in Springfield, Ohio.

The program, called Biz Ba$ics, is teaching seventh-grade students important entrepreneurial skills, including how to start and run their own small businesses. 

Biz Ba$ics is the result of people from each of the partners who wanted to reach out to the Springfield community, said Leah Terrell, director of the program.

“We were looking at making a difference in the community,” she said. “We didn’t want it to be just another program. We wanted to give life skills, not be just a one-time thing.”

Over 30 seventh-grade students from Hayward Middle School applied and, after a vigorous process involving application forms and interviews, 20 students were selected for the program. These students are required to meet minimum requirements to continue in the program, said Terrell, which include a grade point average of at least 2.0 and steady attendance. Since the start of the program, a few students have had to drop out, whether for a ‘lack of adherence to the rules’ or academic reasons, leaving a steady 16-17 participants.

For the program, business students from Cedarville University have been taking the knowledge gained from their business classes and using it to teach the participants. 

“We want to give the kids a bigger picture and a purpose. We want to show them that if they stick through high school and get an education, they can achieve their dreams,” said Danielle Petek, a business student at Cedarville University.

Petek is one of six Cedarville University business students who have been involved in the program since it began at the start of the school year. She said that the program is important for the participants’ educationally, but also relationally.

“Being there, showing that you care,” Petek said. “It means a lot to them.”

Already, said Terrell, people have gotten behind the program and supported it. Parents, she said, have thanked them for what they are doing and the difference it has made in their children.

“When you see where the kids have started and where they are now, there are a lot of smiles, confidence, and hope and confidence in knowing they can do something with their life that is more than what the odds are,” said Loren Kuhn, who works as an event manager at Cedarville University and is involved with the program.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Inspiring greatness for over 125 years, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at www.cedarville.edu.