GISD Hosts 1st YE Problem-Solving Summit

GISD Hosts 1st YE Problem-Solving Summit
Posted on 11/04/2021
YE logo

The Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) continues to encourage and support entrepreneurial mindsets in students across Genesee County. On October 20, 2021, GISD hosted the first Youth Entrepreneurship (YE) Problem Solving Summit at the Genesee Career Institute. More than 30 students from high schools across Genesee County came together to hear from local entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial educators, and motivational speaker Shon Hart, Executive Director of InvolvedDad.

Shon Hart photoGISD and YE Coordinator Kimberly Dehmel, partnered with 100K Ideas, the University of Michigan-Flint, and the Young Entrepreneur Institute to help execute this innovative event. Vivian Williams, the Community Engagement Coordinator for 100K Ideas, kicked things off by providing an overview of the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and innovation. Next, the 100K Ideas team led the students through problem-solving activities to help get their critical and creative thinking skills flowing. The high school students collaborated with six different entrepreneurs who presented them with problems they were experiencing in their businesses.

The students worked together to discuss ways to resolve the issues the business owners have experienced. The issues ranged from concerns about customer retention experienced by Anderson’s Karate studio to challenges Suzanne Marie, chocolatier and owner of Sweets by Suzanne, is facing as she looks for new ways to promote her delicious chocolate pizzas. Leaders of the movie production company, Burns and Co. Productions shared their struggles of finding a balance between a healthy amount of screen time and entertainment. And representatives from Flint Style Soccer presented their issue of ‘How to introduce soccer to kids?’ and described some of the difficulties they face in providing local students with the training necessary to compete against schools in surrounding areas.

 After the entrepreneurs presented their “problems” the students gathered in groups with lead facilitators to brainstorm to come up with creative ideas to help the local businesses solve their problems. The students also had to come up with a team name and a logo that represented the company.

 When time was up, the groups presented multiple solutions to address the issues they were presented with. Each team then voted on the very best solution to help the business owners. It was a wonderful experience for both the students and the participating local entrepreneurs.

 “The minds of young entrepreneurs were activated, and the business owners were able to take away solutions to problems faced in their industry,” said Dehmel.

Organizers are already thinking of ways to make the second YE Problem-Solving Summit even better next year! In the meantime, Genesee County high school students are encouraged to join their school's YE Club. The next exciting event is an Investor Pitch Competition in December. Students will submit video pitches of their business idea and the top winners will receive start-up money to help make their idea a reality!  

YE Problem-Solving Summit group photo
(Pictured left to right: Mark Simon (U of M-Flint), Steve Wolbert (SIPI), Vivian Williams (100k Ideas), Anna Church (100k Ideas), Julie Michael-Smith (NFTE), Kim Dehmel (GISD)