Springdale students get hands-on entrepreneurial experience with EforAll NWA partnership

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by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 385 views 

Rodrigo Salas is the executive director of Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Northwest Arkansas.

Entrepreneurship for All Northwest Arkansas (EforAll NWA) and Springdale Public Schools are partnering on a pilot program to introduce entrepreneurship and business representation to Springdale students.

According to an announcement on Thursday (Feb. 15), the collaboration aims to equip students with essential entrepreneurial skills while promoting diversity and inclusion through engaging role models.

“We believe that this partnership will significantly impact the community and provide valuable insights into the importance of early exposure to diverse role models in shaping children’s career aspirations,” said Rodrigo Salas, EforAll NWA executive director.

The program, launched at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year, includes an entrepreneurial speaker series featuring regional entrepreneurs and mentors and a high school pitch competition to instill entrepreneurial skills in junior and senior students.

Through these initiatives, students will gain insights and opportunities to develop innovative ideas, fostering creativity and resilience.

“We are thrilled about this partnership with EforAll NWA,” said Rodney Ellis, workforce training director for Springdale Public Schools. “Providing our students with exposure to diverse role models and hands-on entrepreneurial experiences aligns with our commitment to fostering well-rounded, innovative leaders for the future. We look forward to the positive impact this program will have on our students’ academic and personal development.”

The Tyson Family Foundation supports the program.

“We believe that providing students with real-world insights from entrepreneurs who reflect the diversity of our community is a powerful way to inspire and encourage the next generation of business leaders,” said Olivia Tyson, president of the Tyson Family Foundation. “The Tyson Family Foundation is proud to partner with EforAll in this impactful initiative.”

EforAll NWA is an affiliate of Massachusetts-based nonprofit Entrepreneurship for All, a national entrepreneurship organization with offices nationwide. Its mission is to make entrepreneurship accessible to anyone with the drive to start their own business and create opportunities to build generational wealth for their families.

EforAll was founded in 2010 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande. Funding from Bentonville-based Walton Family Foundation supports the Northwest Arkansas accelerator, which launched in March 2021 as the state’s first EforAll community. The nonprofit hired Salas later that year.

“We are excited to collaborate with the Springdale Schools and the Tyson Family Foundation to bring this innovative program to Springdale students,” Salas said. “By connecting students with local entrepreneurs and creating opportunities for them to showcase their own ideas, we aim to ignite a passion for entrepreneurship and empower students to realize their full potential.”

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