During the 2015 Junior Achievement Entrepreneur Week, Daina Sisk’s Shaker High School American Entrepreneur students received a visit from Jim O’Keefe from Maya Investments. O’Keefe is a global business professional with more than 30 years of experience with numerous companies in multiple industries, operating around the world. Twice a year he visits high school classrooms to discuss entrepreneurship with students, as a part of the Junior Achievement program. O’Keefe works to inspire students to explore entrepreneurship, and highlights the opportunities, challenges, and preparation required for successful participation in the global economy.
During O’Keefe’s visit to Sisk’s class, he encouraged students to do “information interviews”; interviews with people who are ahead of them in their career in a role they aspire to achieve.
“I hope they see there are ways to enter the U.S. economy and that they can have an impact as entrepreneurs or business people,” said O’Keefe.
“What I found meaningful from his presentation was that it takes perseverance and dedication to open a business,” said student Brian Kwon. “He inspired me because I know those two things will be required when I go out in the world and pursue my dreams.”
Right now, Kwon and his fellow students are creating their own business plans under the guidance of Sisk in her American Entrepreneur class. Students work for a semester on their plans, and eventually present them to potential investors based on the premise of the popular television show “Shark Tank.” The students compete for a mock $250,000 based on how viable their business plan is.
O’Keefe encouraged students that the business plans they are formulating for class now could actually be true entrepreneurial opportunities in a few years after high school.
“The message is to think globally,” said O’Keefe. “Facebook was a neat Harvard campus idea. It now covers the globe.”