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October 18, 2019

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Entrepreneurship Pathway- Middle School "Stark Tank"

In today's innovation economy - with needs and opportunities evolving faster and more fluidly than ever before - our youth need a mindset that equips them to recognize opportunity, take initiative, and innovate in the face of challenges.
- Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Giving Greater Stark a competitive edge in the global economy depends on the talent it develops for innovation and entrepreneurship. Being entrepreneurial means not following prescribed paths. Instead, it's creating something new, developing ideas or projects and thinking outside the box. The entrepreneurial spirit is a vital organ of a society that moves forward and adapts to changing economic, technological and social challenges.

You will already find entrepreneurial learning in Greater Stark County K-12 districts and universities, but a team of Strengthening Stark schools and business leaders stretched those experiences for middle school students. Collaborators designed a pathway to engage the students - who work across districts outside the schoolhouse with community innovators - in learning that develops entrepreneurship. 
"Our goal is to develop valuable skills," explained Joel Daniel Harris, Executive Dreamer from TomTod Ideas and collaborator in the project. "We know the skills that are building blocks for business success - innovation, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity - may be nurtured long before high school graduation. Stark Tank is an avenue for inspiring students to use their entrepreneurial talents to find solutions to improve their life and/or community."
During the school year, teams of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students are scheduled to attend four sessions held at local colleges and will include campus tours. The kickoff began on October 9th at the University of Mount Union. Teams of middle school students (approximately 110 students) from across the region responded enthusiastically to their first session of exploring entrepreneurship.

Topics to be explored during the year include: 1) introduction to entrepreneurship and idea generation; 2) design thinking and concept development; 3) business planning, resourcing and pitch development; and 4) final pitch and presentation. After brainstorming and developing ideas, teams will pitch their innovative plans to a panel of judges with prizes being awarded. More importantly each participant will have had skill building experiences.
Contact Jay Moody ( for more information.
About the Partnership Long Header
The Stark Education Partnership - a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Stark County, Ohio -  is a catalyst, engaging and collaborating with education, business, civic and community stakeholders to drive sustainable improvement and innovation to provide all students with education and career success.  

Questions or comments? Email or call 330-452-0829. Visit our website at
Stark Education Partnership, 400 Market Avenue North - Suite B, Canton, OH 44702
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