Rochester, NY has a sustainability CHALLENGE; it is the fifth poorest city in the nation, third for neighborhoods in extreme poverty, and poorest urban NYS School District – graduating less than 50% of its students. Grade 3rd – 6th students attending Rochester Roots’ SEE program have an entrepreneurial SOLUTION; they are learning about sustainability and entrepreneurship to become Rochester’s Changemakers. Motivated to self-determine their own future, they are developing businesses to improve the sustainability and wellbeing of their community, including, manufacturing, services and educational game businesses.
RCSD’s Montessori Academy youth entrepreneurs present their business concepts, research, products, and plans to a panel of judges annually. Through SEE, which includes the support of senior college engineers, professors, business mentors and experts, they aspire to develop knowledge and outcomes, including the potential of having viable, sustainable businesses before high school graduation. Criteria for judging is based on the social entrepreneur’s demonstration of research and development, critical thinking and decision-making expertise in developing sustainable businesses that improve one or more of seven community-wellbeing outcomes: 1) Financial, 2) Employment, 3) Education, 4) Health, 5) Ecosystem, 6) Public Safety, and 7) Sense of Community.