Bright Minds

Why you should get involved with the entrepreneurs of the future
3 min read

So many people dream of entrepreneurship at a young age. From the time they're old enough to count, they're thinking of what to sell, how to sell it and where their next idea is coming from. Those young visionaries are just the constituents of SAGE, Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship, a global organization that encourages high school students to become entrepreneurs. Founded about 10 years ago by Curtis L. DeBerg, professor of business at California State University, Chico, SAGE is very active at the local level--teachers and students start their own SAGE chapters at their local high schools, and then create new ventures or improve existing ones. "They like the chance to use their creativity and ingenuity to create something that doesn't exist," says DeBerg. "Then they have a chance to showcase their ideas in front of a panel of business and civic leaders [at SAGE competitions]."

Malik Moosa, a former student at Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California, was a member of the winning team at the 2006 SAGE World Cup held in Shanghai, China. Running the student store and on-campus eateries, 18-year-old Moosa learned not only business principles, but also how to network and present ideas--skills he's taken with him to his studies at Santa Monica College. With his SAGE experiences, Moosa has set his sights on starting his own e-commerce business in the future.

Aching to be a part of SAGE, but already in college? If you currently have a business, you can get involved by networking with your local SAGE leaders to provide support, mentoring and business advice to budding business students. A business student himself at Chico State, Blake Garcia heard DeBerg speak about SAGE and was inspired to introduce the organization to his alma mater, Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville, California. Noticing that business wasn't really taught there, he presented SAGE to his former student government. "It turned out to be a great experience--the high schoolers are excited about making connections to the business world, not only through the college mentors, but also [by] establishing roots with all these people in the community," says Garcia. "And from my perspective, SAGE has given me a whole new outlook on my professional career." Now a SAGE coordinator and college mentor, Garcia, 21, was even stirred to start his own business. He co-founded Xamda Media Networks, a digital signage company, with Joe Duenat, 23, and Brandon Loyd, 20, in early 2006.

With chapters in eight U.S. states, including New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, SAGE is also expanding its reach from nine countries to 13 in the 2006-2007 school year. Already in countries such as China, Ghana and Nigeria, SAGE is welcoming Brazil, Canada and the Philippines to its network. Competitions happen at the state level, then each country hosts a national competition, culminating in the 5th annual World Cup competition in Odessa, Ukraine, in 2007. "It's amazing to see the cultural exchanges," says DeBerg. "Through SAGE, all students are given a new lens to look at the world, and that lens says 'I can do anything.'"

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