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Developing Future Leaders Early On

Northwood University’s mission to develop the future leaders of a global, free enterprise society begins much sooner than we may think. In fact, it starts with Northwood sponsored programs for middle and high school students. One such program is Learning About Business (LAB) which takes place this year on our Michigan campus, June 22-27. In its 35th year, the six-day LAB program is for business-minded high school sophomores and juniors. Under the leadership of the Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity & Enterprise, 45 students will meet in a “try it on” learning environment combining business curricula with a real-world simulation in which student teams compete in the design, manufacture and sale of their own car. Another example is Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). Hosted in partnership with the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce, Northwood brings local middle and high school students together weekly over the course of the school year to work through the stages of launching and running a real business or social movement. Area professionals teach and guide participants through everything from the brainstorming and business-plan phase to legal registration and product or service roll out.

To give you an idea of just how serious the program is, this past year Midland middle school student Lillian Baker finished fourth nationally at the Annual Saunders Scholars Competition, falling just short of qualifying for ABC’s Shark Tank. The Saunders Scholars Competition was established in 2009 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Philip Saunders to bring the top student businesses from each YEA! location to compete against each other for the potential Shark Tank audition.

A third Northwood sponsored program is the Midland County Youth Leadership Program. Designed by youth for youth, this program, which runs through the entire school year, culminates in this two-day conference that teaches high school freshmen about leadership, goal setting, team building and decision-making, and volunteerism through a variety of activities and interaction with community leaders and other high school students.

In addition to providing youth with positive and meaningful structures for future success, participation in programs like these is a great way to share all Northwood has to offer. So the next time you hear “future leaders” remember-we at Northwood are doing our part to engage and develop them early on.

Have a great weekend.


Keith A. Pretty, J.D. President and CEO Northwood University 4000 Whiting Drive Midland, MI 48640 989.837.4203


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