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Young entrepreneurs sign up for early success

Several Tampa Bay area programs now offer classes and mentoring for kid entrepreneurs…
Read more in the full article.

Tampa Bay Partnership: Forward Thinking Initiatives Launches First Youth Entrepreneurship Academy In St. Petersburg

Read more in the full article.

Elite Tampa Bay – October 2013

Forward Thinking Initiatives is featured on pages 40 and 41. View the magazine here.

CNBC: Forget campfires, more kids heading to entrepreneur camp

Read more in the full CNBC article.

FTI Launches Teen Entrepreneurship Academy (Sept. 2013)

Read more in the full press release.


Summer Camps Make Kids into Entrepreneurs (June 2013)

Read more in the Tampa Bay Tribune article.


Teen Business and Innovation Camps (May 2013)

Read more in the Carrollwood Area Neighborhood News article.


FTI Summer Camps at MOSI (May 2012)

Read more on Temple Terrace Patch.


FTI Receives Prestigious Leavey Award (March 2012)

Read more in the full press release.


FTI Announces New Board, Executive Director

Read more in the full press release.

CTB’s Summer Camp Guide for Creative Kids

Entrepreneurship Camps for Teens. Learn the principles of entrepreneurship and how to start your own company through this six-day camp. In the mornings, students will learn how to think, plan, and act like entrepreneurs as well as how to write a business plan and prepare a presentation describing their plan. In the afternoons, young business people will study creative problem solving, team building through robotics, and innovation through a curriculum developed by the Brainstorm Institute. Trophies will be awarded for the top business plans following a competition held on the last day of camp. For ages 13 – 17. The camp runs 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM and costs $399 per child, per week. The first two camps are held at the Museum of Science & Industry, 4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa. The 7/23 camp will be held at Tampa Day School 12606 Henderson Road, Tampa. Contact Deb Campbell at Campbell@forwardthinkinginitiatives.com or call (813)760-7860. Read more:http://www.creativetampabay.com/archives/193

Forward Thinking Initiatives’ Entrepreneurship Camp for Teens @ MOSI


Raintree Writing Service


By Elizabeth A. Leib

Mar. 12, 2007

“One Woman’s Quest to Foster Critical Thinking, Leadership and Entreprenuership in Tampa Bay’s Youth”

Marco Padilla-Rodriquez hasn’t quit his day job just yet. But he has big dreams. As founder of earthKIND humanKIND he uses all his free time to pursue his passion for the environment. Padilla-Rodriquez loves to talk about the importance of the relationship between people and the planet, giving presentations to community groups, talking with anyone who will listen about his ideas on sustainability and corporate social responsibility and attending to administrative details like answering emails.

For the last several years, Padilla-Rodriquez, a sophomore student at Northside Christian School, frequently volunteered his time to organizations that focused on environmental protection and restoration, an interest he says he shares with his mom. When she told him about a camp for teens where participants learn the principles of entrepreneurship and how to form a company, he jumped at the chance to participate. A year later Padilla-Rodriquez says about the 2006 Entrepreneurship Camp for Teens at MOSI, “it was more about for-profit businesses, not non-profit. But it was still very helpful. I enjoyed the speakers and the different and important subjects that they covered. Entrepreneurship Camp helped me get more serious about creating Earthkind and it also helped me developed the website for Earthkind (www.earthKINDhumanKIND.org).”

I had the chance to hear Padilla-Rodriquez talk about his organization alongside other young business owners last week during the Tampa Bay kick off of Entrepreneurship Week USA. Speaking that evening to a group of teachers and high school students was Max Wolford, founder of Good Stuff Video Productions (www.goodstuffvideoproductions.com), Chon T. Nguyen, President of Digital Aspire, LLC (www.digital aspire.com), Rebecca Heimstead, coordinator of Mayor Iorio’s Youth Corp for the City and Brian Collins, founder of the Brainstorm Institute. The presentation took place at the Bill Poe Junior Achievement Center and was sponsored by Forward Thinking Initiatives and Junior Achievement.

The Kauffman Foundation launched EntrepreneurshipWeek USA (www.entrepreneurshipweekusa.com) along with a group of sponsors including the New York Times and Inc. magazine with the purpose of igniting the nation’s consciousness around the importance of being entrepreneurial. Traditionally “entrepreneurship” refers to starting a new business. But in today’s environment entrepreneurship permeates into very diverse areas of society, and entrepreneurial thinking people emerge through all sorts of routes and backgrounds. Entrepreneurial thinking is applied to non-business problems, and it is as relevant to public and volunteer organizations as it is to large corporations and small businesses. EntrepreneurshipWeek USA is designed to help kids actually see themselves as entrepreneurial thinkers – using creativity and innovation to start their adult lives.

Thanks to the efforts of Deb Campbell, President of Forward Thinking Initiatives, Tampa Bay youth are being given a chance to participate in the nationwide interest in fostering youth entrepreneurship, critical thinking, and leadership. Founded in 2003 with seed money from the Florida High Tech and Verizon, Forward Thinking Initiatives (FTI) is dedicated to developing a more competitive emerging workforce by providing programs with a focus on youth entrepreneurship, critical thinking, and leadership. I first met Campbell when we crossed paths as board members for Creative Tampa Bay and later as fellow Hillel moms. Campbell, an artist and art teacher at the Hillel Day School of Tampa, combines her extensive background in economic development and education, where she has successfully introduced workforce trends into a curriculum that stresses financial literacy and critical thinking. FTI strives to create linkages among educators, human resource professionals, parents, students and the business community.

If she sounds amazing on paper, Campbell is even moreso in person. She is a woman who presents so well you imagine her flowing seamlessly between the high powered business environments of her days with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (where she taught companies how to do international trade) and the equally intense adolescents she relates to in her Hillel art classes. The art of her students “The DaVinci Project” is on display in MOSI’s lobby.

Campbell ’s no-nonsense vision is compelling. When she talks about the plans in progress with Hillel to create a 20-week Global Business program for the students culminating in a trip to Israel to meet their teen trading partners, it’s difficult not to get dizzy with the breadth of her vision. She’s got a plan for making it happen, and is out in full force working to develop partnerships and funding to support it all. There seems nothing she’s not capable of accomplishing.

This summer area youth may register for one of two week-long sessions of the Forward Thinking Initiatives Entrepreneurship Camp for Teens taking place at MOSI June 25 or July 9.

How to register:

Send a check along with the young entrepreneur’s name, address, student and parent email addresses, phone number, age, school, and grade to:

Forward Thinking Initiatives at MOSI

10550 Greencrest Drive

Tampa, Florida 33626

Attn: Debra Campbell

Fee: $399

Payable to: Forward Thinking Initiatives at MOSI

For information: Call (813) 760-7860 or email: Campbell@forwardthinkinginitiatives.com

Limited need-based scholarships are available.

CreativeTampaBay articles

With the wide variety of this year’s and future events, CTB strives to do “civic acupuncture” by interjecting ideas and energy into the life force of the community. CTB also is proud of board members who are following their own creative endeavors. Deb Campbell, under the Forward Thinking Initiatives she has pioneered at the Museum of Science and Industry, is putting on the first Youth Entrepreneurship Camp at MOSI for students from seventh grade through high school. Thanks to the generous support of MOSI and the Florida High Tech Corridor. Read more:http://www.creativetampabay.com/about-ctb/history/

EntrepreneurshipWeek USA Education-Related Partners

Debra Campbell of Forward Thinking Initiatives in partnership with Junior Achievement of West Central Florida is proud to present an evening with successful Tampa Bay entrepreneurs. On March 1 (2007) from 7:00 – 8:30 PM the young people will hear from outstanding area entrepreneurs at the “Budding Entrepreneurs” event for 5th – 12th grade Students, Parents and Teachers at the Bill Poe Junior Achievement Center in Tampa. http://www.entre-ed.org/E-partners.htm