Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit of York City Youth

Writer michael vyskocil
Photographer John Williams

Entrepreneurial thinking can start at a very early age — just ask Maddie Davis, Graham Innovation Scholar at York College of Pennsylvania. A curriculum module–based program she developed called “Guppy Tank” will give York City youth opportunities to embrace their inner entrepreneur.

“I prototyped Guppy Tank to abide by the following motto: ‘strengthening the younger generation’s minds to unlock their creative confidence and innovative spirits through an empathetic approach,” she says.

Focusing on sixth- to eighth-grade students, “Guppy Tank” uses a series of curricular modules that introduces youth to design thinking skills and allows them to apply creativity to develop innovative products. Along the way, they practice mathematics skills to estimate costs and product pricing and learn basic business principles for bringing products to market, including product development, pricing, and marketing. The program culminates with a “Guppy Tank” pitch to potential investors.

So far, Davis has worked with children from the McKinley School in York City to test the prototype for Guppy Tank. York College hopes to expand its reach and work with more schools, such as York Academy Regional Charter School, and organizations in the community once “Guppy Tank” is fully developed by the beginning of the new school year, she says.

“Guppy Tank,” connected to York College’s Center for Community Engagement’s (CCE) initiatives to help underserved youth, will also attempt to partner with area schools and after-school programs. Through a grant from the Women’s Giving Circle of the York County Community Foundation (pages 20–21), Davis will pilot “Guppy Tank” summer programming through York College’s “Generations of Hope” volunteer effort.

“The major goal is to help at-risk students learn that their ideas have value and to envision a bright future for themselves,” says Dr. Dominic DelliCarpini, Director of the Graham Innovation Scholars and Dean of the CCE. “Since this program will reward successful students with the opportunity to actually see their products developed and marketed, it will give them reasons to learn — and perhaps imagine a future in one of many possible careers.” 

YRK PERSPECTIVES:

How will Guppy Tank make a big impact on York’s youth?

“GTINK (Guppy Tank INK) guides children to grow, strengthen and adapt to a new of thinking through real-life, hands-on entrepreneurship experience motivated by an empathetic approach.”

Maddie Davis, Graham Innovation Scholar, York College of Pennsylvania

York College of Pennsylvania
  • 441 Country Club Rd. York, PA 17403
  • 717.846.7788
York College of Pennsylvania
  • 441 Country Club Rd. York, PA 17403
  • 717.846.7788