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USD 431 begins innovative entrepreneurship venture
new kl stafford seed center-1
Stafford SEED center

HOISINGTON — 21st century skills for students today involve knowledge that is different than it was a hundred years ago. With that in mind, the Hoisington School District is working towards an entrepreneurship project that will provide tools for students, including time management, accountability, responsibility, and hands-on employee skills.
The Hoisington E-Community, city of Hoisington and chamber of commerce teamed together to provide $20,000 towards the purchase of a downtown Hoisington commercial building, and the district has begun the process, although contracts have not yet been signed.
If everything goes smoothly, they plan on “taking possession before the first of the year,” said Superintendent Bill Lowry. “We still have a lot of steps to go through.
The district already has entrepreneurship projects in place at the high school, including a coffee shop run by students and classes where students create their own businesses.
This next step will be an extension of those classes. “It will help our students” and be a learning experience, said Lowry. “It will be an enhancement to our downtown location.
The district will be responsible for facelift upgrades, minor improvements to the building, and possibly the addition of walls. Lowry envisions a production area and a display area.
The proceeds from the student businesses will be used to cover expenses from utilities and insurance. The building will become the property of the school district.
The district has received a grant for $25,000 for the entrepreneurship project, which will also help defray costs. They have also received a donation of some equipment already.
The project will be similar to the Stafford Entrepreneurship and Economic Development program. Students in Stafford participate in entrepreneurship and marketing projects in a downtown main street building. They offer commercial equipment that the students can use for their own business.
The SEED center equipment includes a bicycle stand/repair equipment; sewing machine, airbrush, large format poster/banner printer, garment printer, rotary engraver and color laser copier.
They choose to work with local businesses, and not compete but coordinate, said Natalie Clark, SEED center instructor.
Lowry said the project will include business, industrial arts, family and consumer science, and art classes. USD 431 may extend the “Red Zone,” the district’s coffee shop run by business students at the school.
The students will be planning, producing and providing service and even if the business fails, it will provide a learning experience, said Lowry. “They’re making this product for a customer.”
“It’s something innovative,” he said.
They may also open the building up for small community businesses as well.