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As Financial Industry Waivers, Leaders Look Toward Youth

Katie Kotowski
October 21, 2008

A member of the Voinovich School professional staff showed yet another way the School helps the community on Oct. 17, 2008, by educating two Vinton fifth grade classes on business and entrepreneurship.This area of study is extremely important for these young students as it relates to their everyday lives and as a new edition to the state indicator test.

Shawn Mallett was the speaker at the event and is a part of the Small Business Development Center at the Voinovich School.In addition, he recently became the coach of a state-wide initiative sponsored by the financial industry to increase education of young people on areas of the economy, finances, and entrepreneurship.As a father to five children, he understands the importance of this education.

Despite learning about entrepreneurship in the fourth grade, students were excited and interested as Mallett talked about the importance of goal setting and taking advantage of opportunities. “Starting a business is a process that starts slow and hopefully progresses,” he said.

Ms. Walker, a fifth grade teacher, enjoyed the presentation noting that it is an important topic for students of this age since it appears on their state test.In addition, learning about business encourages them to practice good leadership skills and teaches them goal setting. “It is really good for this grade… It teaches them to be better adults and to participate in the world,” said Walker.

She also said that she is hoping to have the students start a school store to help them learn about running a business.It will teach them better math skills as they create budgets and keep inventory and teach them leadership skills as they work to manage the store.She found this exercise extremely successful the last time she used it, and hopes that Mallett’s talk will help get the program off the ground.

Students said that they enjoyed the opportunity to learn from Mallett.The students left the presentation excited about the future and ready to set goals for their plans.Most said they were looking forward to starting their own business and putting Mallett’s information into practice.

March 2009 Update:
The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs’ Small Business Development Center, Ohio University’s Integrated MBA program, and Vinton Elementary were honored February 23 during National Entrepreneurship Week by the State of Ohio’s Small Business Development Center for their outstanding performance and valuable contribution to the education and development of Ohio’s future leaders.

The awards presentation concluded a daylong event in Columbus, Ohio targeted towards elementary through college students.Vinton students were invited to participate in the event, attending lectures, listening to advice from the State’s College Mentoring Panel, and participating in a question and answer session with Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher.

Shawn Mallett, a Voinovich School staff member and Small Business Development Center director, had spoken to the Vinton Elementary 5th grade classes Last October as a part of a state-wide initiative to educate students on business and entrepreneurship.