BRIDGES –Building REAL Interest in Developing Greater Entrepreneurship Systems
BRIDGES –Building REAL Interest in Developing Greater Entrepreneurship Systems is designed to 1) provide educators and administrators with effective teaching methods and materials to prepare them to offer the entrepreneurship skills sets needed by aspiring entrepreneurs; and to 2) bridge the community to the schools for specific activities and programs to add value to the entrepreneurship programs.
REAL Entrepreneurship has been the small business skills program of choice in rural, low wealth communities nationwide for 20 years largely due to the adaptability of the REAL curricula to youth and adult entrepreneurs of varying types (aspiring, survival, lifestyle, serial and growth); and because of the active learning delivery of the curriculum. NC REAL has adapted the core curriculum to meet the needs of various populations (youth of all ages, community based organizations, Hispanics, farmers, Thailand citizens, distance learners, growth entrepreneurs). Additionally, NC REAL has been a leader in providing REAL Institute training of teachers to use the curriculum among the states. The strength of REAL has long been grounded in the action curriculum and in the accompanying teacher training.
BRIDGES project, funded by the Golden LEAF Foundation, covers three counties in North Carolina: Ashe, Alleghany and Wilkes. The project uses REAL Entrepreneurship curricula, teacher trainings, community activities, and networks to prepare teachers with new knowledge and skills to provide entrepreneurship education and experiential opportunities within the community. Because of BRIDGES teachers and students in Alleghany, Ashe and Wilkes will have access to school and community opportunities to build basic understanding of entrepreneurship and be able to both explore and apply entrepreneurship experientially.
As result, teachers and students in the target counties will be more informed about local entrepreneurial opportunities; and teachers will be better equipped with the tools to offer entrepreneurship skill sets to middle, high school, and community college students. The outcome will be a gradual but steady stream of students graduating with more focused career aspirations and critical skills needed to contribute to the economic health of their communities and compete in a global economy.
During the session, NC REAL will showcase its newly revised REAL Entrepreneurship Curriculum. Participants in this session will experience an entrepreneurship activity from the new REAL curriculum, practice the experiential cycle technique imbedded in the activity, and learn more about BRIDGES and other NC REAL programs and services.
Anna Koltchagova, Interim Executive Director, NC REAL Enterprises, NC
Arlene Childers, Program Coordinator, NC REAL Enterprises, NC