National Education Conference

February 17-19, 2021 • Virtual Programming

Expanding the Entrepreneurial Mindset through Ecosystem Building in Communities

Entrepreneurship is flashy, exciting, and a superb way to engage youth in life skill-building. According to eXtension, “Seeding a Successful Future: Youth Entrepreneurship” (Wise, G. 2019), the benefits of encouraging youth to participate in an entrepreneurship program can be seen as an increased willingness to take personal responsibility, increased earning power, enhanced social skills, improved grades, and increased participation in school-related activities. Developing the entrepreneurship mindset so a program can be successful for youth revolves around creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem. The components of this ecosystem include providing resources and training to partners, providing education and mentorship for youth, building community networks, offering opportunities for youth competitions, and encouraging pathways to success. The UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Youth Development Program and the Florida Afterschool Network, along with local partners, have been building the ecosystem of entrepreneurship in Florida through a comprehensive program called Gator Pit. This presentation will provide an opportunity for OST providers to learn about the ecosystem of entrepreneurship in understanding partnerships, opportunities, resources available, and the benefits for youth as evidenced by the Gator Pit program.