Robert Crowell: Everybody Is An Entrepreneur

A new and exciting educational program funded by the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation (Foundation) is being rolled out in our community. Created in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, the program known as the New Entrepreneur Network, or “New-E Network,” is an ambitious and innovative adjunct educational program for Carson City. The New-E Network is tasked with the lofty mission of creating a culture of entrepreneurship and career building in our community starting, no less, in kindergarten.

Jeff Glass, a successful entrepreneur in his own right, will guide the New-E Network. Jeff described the program at an informational meeting held at the Adams Hub for Innovation — another Foundation initiative for start-up companies. This meeting was attended by leaders from a broad cross-section of our community that included, among others, local and regional entrepreneurs and business owners, NNDA representatives, Adams Hub Administrator Rob Griffin, Foundation Representative Miya MacKenzie, public school representatives including Board President Ron Swirczek, Superintendent Richard Stokes and Allen Gosselin, a guiding hand in the School District’s Race to the Top achievement of first in the nation status, private school representatives, WNC representatives, award winning culinary arts teacher, Penny Reynolds, several other CTE teachers, District Judge Jim Wilson, representatives of the District Attorney’s office, Juvenile Probation personnel and our City Manager Nick Marano.

There’s a general tendency to define an entrepreneur as one who starts his or her own business. In reality, entrepreneurship is much more. At its core entrepreneurship is a belief and value system.

The New-E program was developed by vetting the more successful and innovating career and technical education programs from around the nation and using the “best of the best” as the program foundation. The Network will initially consist of three subsets: New-E Club; New-E Biz; and New-E Curriculum. The overall program is designed to promote a culture shift where our youth are taught skills that provide them with not just a few career options but a myriad of choices thereby helping them make a difference not only for themselves but their communities.

The New-E Curriculum will use an updated version of the Junior Achievement (JA) model that many of us remember from our youth. JA will be the school-based gateway to the Network. The updated framework is linked to New-E Biz mentors and businesses that will provide the real-time and real-life application of entrepreneurial skills and learning. As part of Nevada’s CTE’s curricula, New-E curricula will qualify as state accredited courses. The program is open and free to all those who wish to participate and who demonstrate a willingness to learn and be challenged.

The New-E Network will also be available for use by Carson City’s Juvenile Probation officials to reach at-risk children giving them hope for a better life. Glass will be joined by Jourdan Rowbottom to oversee the Juvenile Probation program.

New-E Clubs consist of budding entrepreneurs gathering outside of traditional school hours in a facilitated environment conducive to building entrepreneurial enthusiasm with their peers. The first of several planned New-E Clubs created at Carson High School is off to an auspicious beginning and a New-E Club is being formed at WNC under the direction of Dr. Robert Whitcomb.

As its name implies, the New-E Network is an entrepreneurial endeavor in and of itself. Like other start-ups, it too requires the entrepreneurial skills of vision, problem solving and a commitment to sustainability. The success of a culture shift of the magnitude envisioned by the creators of the Network does not happen over night. The Network is fortunate to have the skills and enthusiasm of Glass and his entrepreneurial colleagues. Likewise, the Network is fortunate to have the sustainability resources offered by the Foundation.

The New-E Network has the people, the framework and the resources of a promising start-up. Its success, however, depends upon its ability to reach into our community as a whole if it’s to be successful in creating an environment where education and entrepreneurship become a cultural norm.

In short, while the New-E Network does not need our financial help, it needs our support if it’s to turn its vision into a reality.

For additional information, see

Robert Crowell is mayor of Carson City. He can be reached at (775) 283-7550 or [email protected].

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