An Entrepreneur with a Sweet Spot for JA
Author: Hannah Henry
Published: Tuesday, 13 Feb 2018
Students are not the only ones who learn from JA...our volunteers do, too!
Meet Denis Ring, the Founder of Ocho Chocolate Candy, located in Oakland, California. A candy store that prides itself on great tasting organic candy bars.
In November, Ring decided to trade in his chocolate for a richer experience--volunteering with Junior Achievement for National Entrepreneurship Month.
"The students at Madison Park responded both intellectually and emotionally to the idea that they should really give themselves permission to dream," Ring stated. "As the time passed, it was clear they were listening and engaged because of the questions they were asking."
Yet, Ring didn't expect his invitation into Madison Park Academy 7th grade classroom to be as sweet of a realization for the future of business.
"When I was in 7th grade the term 'entrepreneurship' was never heard, so we never really thought about these kinds of possibilities. It?s healthy and promising to see kids listening and thinking about how entrepreneurship happens," Ring reflected.
Further proving the importance of exposing young people to the impact of entrepreneurship, research indicates that entrepreneurial mentorship creates more than an engaging experience through programs like JA, it also has the potential to create more entrepreneurs.
A study conducted by Stanford determined that 37 percent of students who had entrepreneur-mentors went on to start or join new companies, compared to 28 percent of those whose mentors were not entrepreneurs.
Ring hopes his involvement will inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs: "When they got home that night, they talked about the guy they heard at school who started a candy company. But, more importantly, I hope they fell asleep thinking about what they might do as entrepreneurs."
" How The Right Mentor Can Foster Young Entrepreneurs." School of Engineering. N. p., 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2018.
Amy Kneesey, Vice Chairman of the Brevard County School Board
"It’s a way to expand our curriculum without having to put out more resources. That’s a win for everyone."
Beth Westfall, Assistant Principal West Side Elementary School
"JA is relevant to my school, more so now than ever."
Hilah R. Mercer, Principal Cambridge Elementary Magnet School
"Junior Achievement is an outstanding, motivating program for our elementary students. Several of [our teachers] had JA volunteers last year and all had great praise for the program"
Michael Johnson, PhD, UCF Professor, College of Education
"I have long believed that this JA experience is so valuable for our UCF students and that actually it is a rare win for all experience, the UCF students, the school teachers, the school students, the UCF Education Profs, and the JA sponsors."