Business Excellence Awards
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By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical School’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will celebrate a ribbon-cutting and open house on May 10 to commemorate its opening last January as the nation’s first stand-alone entrepreneurship center for high school students.
“How can we best serve Rhode Island is our mindset and vision,” said Jodi Woodruff, director of the center. “We hope it becomes a hub for Rhode Island for anyone, but particularly for youth. We really want this space to accommodate anyone who may have an idea.”
Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, Keith W. Stokes, executive director of the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, and Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership, an initiative spearheaded by the Obama administration, are scheduled to speak.
The event will include center tours.
Woodruff has led the entrepreneurship program – which teaches two to three dozen students per year how to write and pitch a business plan – for four years.
So far, 10 such plans have received some funding through local business owners. Two projects were funded $10,000 each, Woodruff said.
Having this new space eventually, she hopes, will allow the center to expand its resources and class size.
“I have 70 or 80 students who apply. We’d love to serve [them all],” Woodruff said. “We found this is the way to really engage students [in] financial literacy. The goal is that they absolutely have more ownership and accountability to themselves and things in their lives.”
The Met School is a state-funded public school district and education agency that serves 690 high students on three campuses in Rhode Island.