Entrepreneurship program opens for high schoolers

Punit Dhillon, Rattan Bagga and Amit Sandhu, founders of YELL, a non-profit group that
Punit Dhillon, Rattan Bagga and Amit Sandhu, founders of YELL, a non-profit group that's introducing a new entrepreneurship program to the Richmond school district this fall.
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High schoolers keen on becoming their own bosses but wanting a head start before venturing into the entrepreneurial world, will soon be able to take a new course that can earn them credits toward graduation.

Registration begins next week for fall classes of Entrepreneurship 12 in the 2014/15 school year.

Presented by the non-profit group YELL, which stands for Young Entrepreneurship Leadership Launchpad, classes will be hosted at Hugh Boyd Secondary, where students will learn weekly from those who’ve done it, including local entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The program will end in a Venture Challenge during the spring of 2015, with the winners competing for a provincial venture challenge.

The entrepreneurial program was founded by Richmond developer Amit Sandhu, CEO of Ampri Group of Companies, Rattan Bagga, CEO of New World Natural Foods and Punit Dhillon, a Vancouver entrepreneur who runs a San Diego-based biotech company creating solutions for treating skin cancers.

The new entrepreneurial program was first launched last September in West Vancouver, with the Richmond school district agreeing to partner with YELL for the first time next fall.

Sandhu told The Richmond Review he’ll be speaking to the Richmond School District’s education committee on Feb. 24, with Hugh Boyd secondary hosting a public information night for parents and students on March 4 starting at 7 p.m. For more information, call Hugh Boyd at 604-668-6615.

The classes will be held after school, giving students from across the district time to get to Hugh Boyd. Classes are once-per-week during the fall, running either two or two-and-a-half hours. For the spring session, classes will be held every other week, with students forming teams and matched with a mentor to come up with a business proposal and competing for city bragging rights.

Sandhu hopes to have two other school districts come aboard in time for the 2014/15 school year, with a provincial competition bringing together each city’s winners.

During the March 4 information session, students and parents will learn more about YELL, and can ask Sandhu and Bagga questions.

“One of the great aspects of launching YELL in Richmond is that I’m working alongside a number of teachers from my time at Matthew McNair Secondary,” Sandhu said.

West Vancouver superintendent of schools Chris Kennedy said of the program: “YELL is a wonderful opportunity for students to connect to mentors in the community. The program helps take the theoretical of school, and make it practical. It has quickly become a marque program in our district.”

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