Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship held true to its name, recently, by holding its first Local Entrepreneurial Summit, allowing local business owners a chance to share firsthand knowledge with students.
“Just a way to bring the community to our school, and let the students be around people that have the same aspirations,” said Terri Williams, the school’s innovation specialist. “The students can walk away with a mentor; someone who can guide them, lead them and help facilitate their choices” of certain areas of interest.
The Entrepreneurial Summit, held March 29, was open to the school’s sixth and seventh grade students. Over 30 local business owners and entrepreneurs were on hand, including Leon Ford, state Rep. Ed Gainey, Bruce W. Schafer, Mike Tedesco, Derrick Tillman, David Burton and Rev. Cornell Jones.
The school currently has about 350 students from kindergarten to seventh grade. Next year, the school will accept eighth graders.
Williams said having an entrepreneurial mindset is consistently taught to the students at PHCSE. “Students are expected to show off what they’ve learned throughout the year,” she said.
Williams discussed a student who wants to start their own company, “and create a Cozy Chair,” she said. “She wants to invent a Cozy Chair and sell it.
“Another student wants to be an engineer in a well-to-do firm. And another student wants to have a cooking truck. He wants to sell African American food, but all natural food,” Williams said. “We’ve been introducing this young man to caterers, just (for him) to really learn if this is his market niche.”
Some parents attended the event, held at the school’s gymnasium. But next year, Williams said, she hopes that every parent who wants to come will attend.
The event’s emcee was David Jones of NEED, the oldest community-based, nonprofit, minority, higher education assistance program in the state.
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