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Langley students get an education in entrepreneurship

Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad program gives students hands-on experience

Teacher Alyssa Shore says the Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (YELL) program at the Langley School District is more than just a work experience program.

Shore, a business education teacher at the Langley Education Centre, calls the course “a class about rejection” in that it teaches students to bounce back when they make a pitch that gets turned down.

“It’s going to be really exciting,” Shore said.

“They’re going to learn real-life skills.”

The program for grade 10-12 students started in September.

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About 10 students will meet once a week for about a year to learn about and discover local and global societal needs, design entrepreneurial solutions to them, and learn strategies to implement their ideas.

Local entrepreneurs will regularly present in classes and students will be matched with an outside mentor.

A first for Langley, the course is a joint undertaking of the district and the Canadian charity that operates the Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (YELL).

Dawne Tomlinson, Director of Instruction for the Langley School District, said it will provide Langley students with “authentic learning experiences to hone the skills they will need to be successful in a rapidly changing world — skills such as creative thinking, critical thinking and communication.

The course wraps up with a province-wide Venture Challenge described as a “Dragon’s Den-like” pitch competition held at the end of the year where groups present their ideas to entrepreneurs and investors.

Earlier this year, YELL and Simon Fraser University announced that they are exploring offering SFU credit to high school students completing the YELL program.

The YELL website says it aims to create “young leaders for an increasingly uncertain future (by creating) experiences that expose youth to the stories, skills, ideas, and technologies that have the potential to radically change our future.”

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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Dan Ferguson has worked for a variety of print and broadcast outlets in Canada and the U.S.
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