This post is part of our StartupDad Series, in which David Moody — father of a teen entrepreneur and founder of the StartupDad blog — explores the trials, tribulations, joys, and achievements that young entrepreneurs and their friends and family face.
There was such interest in my previous post on how parents can help encourage their teens to pursue interest in STEM and entrepreneurial endeavors, that I decided to add some information to the partial list of programs mentioned in that post.
For young entrepreneurs in Arkansas, here is a list of 14 resources that can help bolster an interest in entrepreneurship and STEM subjects. Find one near you and engage in the programs or volunteer to help.
- Y.E.S. – The Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation, an affiliate of Arkansas Capital, created the Youth Entrepreneur Showcase (Y.E.S.) for Arkansas business plan competition in 2005 to introduce young Arkansans in grades 5-8 to the potential and opportunities of entrepreneurship.
- EAST – The EAST program, a project-based learning program that teaches kids coding, video production, how to use design and GPS mapping software, and develop websites, is already in 200+ schools around the state.
- Arkansas Innovation Hub – Nonprofit organization with a maker space (lots of cool 3D printers, microprocessors, etc . . .) dedicated to talent and enterprise development in an environment where Arkansas entrepreneurs and innovators find support for success.
- Art Connection – A student art program located inside the Arkansas Innovation Hub
- Noble Impact – An education initiative that exposes students to relevant experiences and tools that enable them to navigate a world defined by uncertainty with an entrepreneurial skill set and a public service mindset.
- STEM Coalition – A statewide partnership of leaders from the corporate, education, government and community sectors which plans, encourages, coordinates and advocates policies, strategies, and programs supportive of excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning in order to expand the economy of Arkansas and produce higher paying jobs. STEM Centers around the state may be found here.
- 100 Girls of Code – The mission of 100 Girls of Code is to achieve gender parity in STEM fields by introducing more young women to code and computer engineering at a young age. It seeks to inspire more girls to pursue a future in STEM. Check out the NWA Chapter.
- First Robotics – The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
- Best Robotics – In these project-based STEM program students learn to analyze and solve problems utilizing the Engineering Design Process, which helps them develop technological literacy skills. Programs exist in Jonesboro, Harrison, Little Rock, and Fort Smith.
- Arkansas Out-of-School Network – A network of after school programs around the state. A few notables include:
- 4-H State Robotics team (Bentonville)
- Bella Vista Boys and Girls Club (strong STEM focus with NASA curriculum)
- J.O. Kelly Middle School (21st CCLC after school program in Springdale with a robotics focus)
- The Camp Pfiefer program (environmental STEM related projects)
- The Saline County Boys and Girls Club (has an entrepreneurship focus and partners with 4-H)
- Horatio Elementary School (21st CCLC, focused on coding)
- The Audubon Center (in Little Rock, with a focus on environmental stewardship)
- UALR Children International’s Summer “Mind Your Business” Camp (Youth Entrepreneurship Program)
Lastly, the following four museums also foster content with a focus on STEM and learning by doing:
Do you know of a program in Arkansas that’s helping kids and teens follow their interests into STEM or entrepreneurship? If so, add it in the comments below!