Dr. Curtis L. DeBerg, Mr. Peter C. Eimer

This paper describes a youth entrepreneurship program that bridges two divides. The first divide is among secondary education, higher education and the private sector. The second divide is across countries, one that prevents international cooperation at a time when such cooperation is crucial. Global challenges, such as environmental sustainability, alternative energy and transportation, and problems caused by global climate change, pose common threats. Thankfully, entrepreneurs with a global worldview see such threats as opportunities. These entrepreneurs can be classified into two categories: (1) those that own and operate socially-responsible businesses (SRBs) and (2) those that own and operate social enterprise businesses (SEBs). The program is called Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship--SAGE ( Founded in 2002, SAGE was started by one of the co-authors; in 2005, the second co-author joined SAGE as the North America coordinator. Both co-authors have served as Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellows on their respective campuses. As Walton Fellows, the authors focused on career development of university students. SAGE, on the other hand, focuses on enterprise development by high school students. One way to bridge the divide, we believe, is to focus on teenagers and leverage the resources of higher education and the private sector. In this paper we start by presenting a brief background and history of SAGE. Second, we discuss why we focus on teenagers. Third, we differentiate between a socially-responsible business (SRB) and a social enterprise business (SEB). Fourth, we provide a few examples of the types of SRBs and SEBs operated by teens. We also explain how we have created a special incentive for teens to create business ventures that address the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. This section also provides the results of a survey of 178 teens participating in two SAGE World Cup tournaments in 2010 and 2011. We found that: (1) over 90% of the students are more confident about their future because of business skills they have learned through SAGE; (2) over 90% of the students more strongly believe that giving back to the community is an important part of a business’s social responsibility; (3) 84% of the students are now more highly motivated to pursue a college or university degree; and (4) 95% of the students consider themselves to have a broader worldview, and are now more accepting of people from other backgrounds and cultures. In the last section, we present a blueprint for other countries to follow if they want to become part of the SAGE network. This section also invites others to consider investing their time, talent or treasure in advancing youth entrepreneurship through SAGE.

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