Annual Entrepreneurship and Economic Program Kicks Off

The 41st Annual Cochrane Summer Economic Institute (CSEI) launched today in the Sharp Academic Commons at Collegiate School. The intensive four-week community outreach program provides 28 area rising high school seniors with the opportunity to learn about the economy and entrepreneurship.
CSEI is administered by Collegiate and funded by the Powell Economic Education Foundation. Corporate sponsors and private donors make contributions to the Powell Economic Education Foundation in support of the annual program.

Schools represented this year, in addition to Collegiate, include Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology, Charles City High School, Church Hill Academy, Henrico High School, Highland Springs High School, Maggie Walker Governor’s School, Mills E. Godwin High School, St. Catherine’s School, The Steward School and Trinity Episcopal High School.

“CSEI asks students to formulate viable solutions to real questions being pondered by corporate executives, nonprofit boards, civic leaders and citizens,” said Trina Clemans, Collegiate’s Director of Economic and Entrepreneurship Education and Director of the Cochrane Summer Economics Institute. “Throughout the problem-solving process, student teams interact with the community they are designing for and develop skills in empathy building, problem-solving and collaboration.”

During the next four weeks, partner companies will create design challenges based on existing needs within their organizations. CSEI’s student teams will work Monday-Thursday using the design thinking process to research the topic and people they have been challenged to design for — clients, partners, suppliers or employees of the company. The 2018 partner organizations are ChildSavers, Dominion Energy, EAB, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Impact Makers, Richmond Flying Squirrels and Startup Virginia.

The students, who receive a $500 stipend, will reconvene on Collegiate’s campus on Fridays to review their four-day work week and the current status of their Design Thinking Challenge. This year, they also will participate in the the City Indicator Challenge, a new addition to the CSEI program. Through this project, they will gather insight from local urban planning professionals to help them contemplate the future of cities — including Richmond — and what millennials will increasingly look for in the places they want to call home.

Student teams will be asked to evaluate and decide how to best plan for future growth in their assigned city, relative to regional priorities outlined in the Captial  Regional Collaborative Indicators Project. The Indicators Project considers nine regional priorities -—  education, job creation, workplace preparation, social stability, healthy community, coordinated transportation, the James River, quality workplace, demographics — relative to seven cities — Austin, Texas; Hartford, Connecticut; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Raleigh, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia.

This morning, Jesse Harris with the Richmond Regional Collaborative described the Indicators Project to CSEI students, then the students “visited” their cities using virtual reality.

“The City Indicator Challenge is designed to bring economic and entrepreneurial concepts to life and engage students in discussions about the growth of the city in which they live — during CSEI and beyond,” Mrs. Clemans said.

Click here for more information about CSEI.
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