Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Planting seeds of entrepreneurship

Kira Kelley looks on as Mom and Irv Rhodes present Junior Achievement

If, as our neighboring city's most prominent pol once stated, "The chief business of the American people is business," the message was lost on Amherst--where 91% of the tax levy comes from residential property and only 9% from commercial/business.

Amherst School Committee Chair Irv Rhodes, Principal Mike Morris, and Donna Kelley, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College, have teamed up to implement an All American solution to that imbalance, while simultaneously offering an antidote to unemployment, poverty and all its associated ills.

Junior Achievement USA brings experienced volunteers into the classroom to explain capitalism and commerce especially as it relates to starting your own business; and even more important, how to nurture that business for long term survival, even in this challenging economy.

In addition to teaching at Babson College, the #1 rated school in America for entrepreneurship, Donna Kelley co-founded a local small business 30 years ago when she first moved to Amherst. Irv Rhodes, founder and CEO of Community Funding Partners, Inc will co-teach the weekly after school program at Crocker Farm Elementary School, where a significant percentage of students qualify for reduced lunch costs due to low income.

"Training at a young age cultivates an entrepreneurial spirit early on," said Kelley. "Besides skill-building, training increases an individual's awareness of entrepreneurship and their intent to start a business, and improves perceptions about their ability to do so."

Her daughter Kira, a 4th grader, is one of the eleven students attending the program and she has already become a skilled negotiator.


Anonymous said...

The new Jr Acheivement.
I was in Jr Acheivement in high school in the late 70s- We chose a product, made it and sold it to friends, family and visitors at the JA trade fair.

Fondest memories were annual trips to resorts in The Poconos (Mt Airy) and The Berkshires (Jug End) Honeymooners sharing the weekends with us must've been thrilled!

Anonymous said...

Not exactly. Only 9% percent of Amherst property tax revenues come from businesses, but the colleges are businesses too, so it's not like we only have a sliver of employment because of businesses. We have lots of employment thanks to these successful businesses.

LarryK4 said...

You must be new here. It goes without saying (because I've said it so often) that UMass is the "largest employer in Western Massachusetts."

But they are also tax exempt. They have a police force larger than ours but no fire department.

Amherst is half owned by tax exempts, thus the other half have quite an extra load to carry.

Anonymous said...

No use to talking back to the prevailing "la-dee-dah" mentality in town, Larry.