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‘Inspired by The Gambia:’ Madison-area teens will share their recent life-changing entrepreneurship experiences in Africa at MMoCA

Ten CEOs of Tomorrow students who traveled to The Gambia recently will share their experience through interactive presentations at MMoCA on Sunday, Aug. 27. (Photo: CEOs of Tomorrow)

Ten CEOs of Tomorrow students had a life-transforming experience during their recent 13-day experience in The Gambia, a tiny country in West Africa along the Gambia River, that will be highlighted at “Inspired by The Gambia” on Sunday, Aug. 27, 3:30-6:30 p.m., at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Madison.

As part of CEOs of Tomorrow’s These Teens Mean Busine$$ Global Excursions program, the students helped to teach entrepreneurship seminars to local youth, learned about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country and were fully immersed in the culture. On Sunday at MMoCA, those teens will be making their capstone presentations.

“Traveling abroad has allowed our students to experience different cultures firsthand. It has helped them gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world and the people in it,” said Roxie Hentz, Ph.D., founding executive director of CEOs of Tomorrow, in a press release. “It was amazing to witness them become more open-minded, tolerant and accepting of different ways of life. I’m so proud of them!”

At “Inspired by The Gambia,” guests will learn more about the Global Excursions program. Each student will give a presentation about their experience and the impact of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Africa. Guests will also be the first to view the new Senegambia Discovery Box, full of traditional Gambian artifacts chosen by the teens during their stay and presented to the UW-Madison African Studies Program for hands-on exploration in Wisconsin classrooms.

Ten participating CEOs of Tomorrow students, grades 9-12, went to The Gambia from Saturday, July 22 to Saturday, Aug. 5. Of those, nine were students of color and traveling out of the country for the first time.

Prior to the excursion, teens engage in summer coursework to learn about the host country, including its geography, customs, languages, education system and local entrepreneurial ecosystem, according to a press release from CEOs of Tomorrow. The program includes a 10-14-day trip to immerse them in opportunities out of the country, where they work with international teens by applying what they have learned in social entrepreneurship. Through these collaborative lessons, the teens collectively develop small business ideas aimed at addressing a local need and bringing revenue to youth, families and villages.

“Our Global Excursions program is one of many of our college-level courses where area high school students can earn both college and high school credits taking this college-level course and travel about entrepreneurship,” said Hentz. “Students open real businesses and make real money while addressing social and environmental issues. Through their work, they can truly see themselves impacting the world.”

At Sunday’s event, the first 100 guests will receive a small treat from The Gambia. The program includes an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and will give special recognition to supporters who made the trip possible.