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Introduction – What does E-seedling do?

E-seedling specializes in cultivating tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and helping educators, parents, youth organizations and communities to do the same. This is done through a proven Youth Entrepreneurship curriculum under the product name of More Than a Lemonade Stand and the Biz Ops Game an experiential learning game that teaches kids how to run a business in a classroom or home environment. Julie Wood, the owner, and Chief Cultivator, revamped the Youth Entrepreneur Camp at the University of Wisconsin –Madison and has improved and created the training materials and published a book to help others implement youth entrepreneurship into their existing programs or create a completely new youth entrepreneur program or camp. Julie also speaks on the importance of teaching kids entrepreneurship, how to get started and teaches several youth entrepreneur camps each year.

How it started and how it works:

E-seedling is a culmination of Julie Wood’s lifelong experiences beginning with the successful lemonade stand that she had with her brothers a hot August day at a boat race near her house.

Her 2nd business experience, a business partnership at the ripe age of 13, was not quite so successful but is how the name E-seedling came about. She and a neighbor who lived about a mile down the road had the idea of starting a plant business. They bought peat pots, soil and seeds, planted the seeds in the pots, watered them and put them in the window of a shed to sprout and grow. At first, they were diligent and checked them every day and finally they sprouted into seedlings. They were already dreaming of what they were going to spend their money on. Once the seedlings appeared they were less diligent on checking them. One day, Julie went to her business partner’s house to check on the plants and they had all dried up and died. She was devastated that her first real business had failed (not to mention all of the money that was gone). Her business partner didn’t seem to care and they parted ways. Julie had learned her first valuable business lessons. 1) Make sure you have a partnership agreement that includes who is going to do what when, and 2) Sprouting the seeds is the easy part; it’s cultivating the seedlings that takes time, care and attention.

Julie had other entrepreneurial endeavors throughout her youth but at age 27 started her first ‘real’ business. A client she was training on accounting systems approached her as angel investor to start a business that provides accounting and accounting system services at a lower cost (than the CPA firm) for small businesses. After some discussion (on a napkin), she decided to trade in her 401K and become a business partner once again, as the majority owner in Check + Balances. She learned more in those 3 years than any other time in her life. Three years later the company was sold to a regional consulting firm where she became an employee once again. After another employee stint that involved a corporate buy out – she decided it was time to go back to her first love of teaching (she has a B.S.in Elementary Education from University of Wisconsin-Madison). She had
two small children and wanted summers off so her idea was to go back to school to get recertified for teaching. At the same time, she started working part-time at the UW-Madison Small Business Development Center.

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