SEED SPOT NEXT — Supporting the NEXT Generation of Social Entrepreneurs

By Gretchen Naugle, Director of SEED SPOT NEXT

What if you could take a class that made school relevant to the real world? One where you could learn how to tackle problems, discover your passion, find solutions, collaborate, network, and change the world? Would you sign up?

According to a report entitled New Vision for Education-Unlocking the Potential of Technology put out by the World Economic Forum “To thrive in today’s innovation-driven economy, workers need a different mix of skills than in the past. In addition to foundational skills like literacy and numeracy, they need competencies like collaboration, creativity and problem-solving, and character qualities like persistence, curiosity and initiative.” The SEED SPOT NEXT program stands ready to bridge the gap between academics and the skills actually needed in today’s economy. It is hard to teach a class on these new skills, so why not empower the students to develop these skills and solve important societal problems at the same time? The SEED SPOT NEXT program is doing just that within the classroom.

I would like to invite you to meet Josh.

Josh participated in our pilot program last year that was only a semester class. Josh and his team identified that the visually impaired did not have a way to text or email from their smart phone. After a series of customer interviews his team created BrailleBoard to solve this problem. Before the class Josh did not see himself as an entrepreneur. Josh writes about his experience in the NEXT program, “SEED SPOT has given me the opportunity to not only experience what the real world feels like but the ability to learn valuable life skill.” This October Josh will be launching his second venture called G.O.A.L.S. after his experience as a Special Olympics Ambassador. His response to a problem he is passionate about is to create a solution. Josh, who did not see himself as an entrepreneur is now on his second venture as a high school student!

We have expanded our program to a full year and are piloting it at Desert Garden Montessori (Private), Western School of Science and Technology (Charter), and Walden Grove High School (Public). This life-changing program is empowering high school students to solve important societal problems, not just run a snack stand at their school’s football game.