News in Cortland NY

40Below Cortland Starts 2008 with Homer High School Economics Project: Cortland¹s Young Professionals Offer Advice to Future Entrepreneurs

For the past six months the Cortland Downtown Partnership has been working with Joe Cortese¹s economics class at Homer High School to develop business ideas for Cortland.

"This has been a true learning experience," said Cortese. "The students are thinking about economics in different ways."

The Homer High School class has already benefited from the expertise of SUNY Cortland¹s strategic management students led by Professor Tim Phillips. As part of the SUNY Cortland Center for Economic Education Phillips and his students have been mentoring teams of Homer High School economic students in business development.

"SUNY Cortland¹s students have served as 'consultants' to the high school students as they put together their business models," said Phillips. "They really helped mentor the high school students through the process ­ which is great learning for both groups."

The Downtown Cortland Business Model Competition is now moving into the next phase, where Joe Cortese¹s Homer High School economics students prepare to present their projects. In order to place the final touches on each business plan, volunteers from 40Below Cortland will be meeting with these students on January 10 to offer advice based on their experience starting and running businesses in Central New York.

"This is a chance to share what we¹ve learned as we¹ve developed our businesses, with the next generation of entrepreneurs and young professionals," said Scott Hopko of Hopko Designs.

On January 10 a half-dozen volunteers from 40Below Cortland will work with nine different student groups as they continue to develop their business idea. The project's leaders Cortese and Purdy hope the final products will be suitable for submission to the Essential Connections Business Idea Competition.

"I¹ve seen some phenomenal ideas from these students," said Purdy, Director of the non-profit Cortland Downtown Partnership. "I¹m excited to see these ideas develop further with the help of volunteers from 40Below Cortland."

At the end of the semester Homer High School¹s economics students will make final presentations of their business ideas for Cortland to local business people.