Would this definition of STEM:





better fit the needs of your industry/region?


Can We Agree

The primary driver of a city’s future economy, and especially job creation, will be small business innovation, largely from advances in science and engineering. While historically largely upper and middle class white males have achieved these advances, our nation’s demographics are growing exponentially in our poor white and populations of color. As our nation acknowledges these demographic shifts, we must inspire and prepare our nation’s new majority to invent the next robotics platform, pioneer aerospace breakthroughs, or develop sustainable energy solutions. While we are focused on STEM career and college readiness for our underserved youth, we have neglected how we develop their STEM plus entrepreneurial skills to pursue STEM “ownership” careers and succeed in STEM college degrees. How does a regional regional economy proceed in mining its greatest resource?


Food For Thought

No matter where you turn, stories abound of the enormous social, economic, and educational benefits of entrepreneurship. Yet, according to Economic Innovation Group’s May 2016 report, which surveyed the economic landscape emerging from the Great Recession, an unambiguously troubling dynamic is the collapse in the number of new start-up ventures. At the national level, a scarcity of new businesses implies a future of reduced economic dynamism. New businesses play a critical role in commercializing innovations, stoking competition, and driving productivity growth. They also create the bulk of the nation’s net new jobs and provide the extra demand that is critical to achieving wage- boosting full employment.

According to the Kauffman Index in August of 2016, “The recovery of startup activity in the United States in the last two years has been driven mostly by more people entering entrepreneurship and more of them entering out of choice rather than necessity; nonetheless, significant worry remains concerning the Startup Density component of the overall Index.”

Paradoxically, entrepreneurship education continues to grow across grades K-16. In the summer of 2015, Junior Achievement USA undertook a review of U.S. states reporting standards and proficiencies in entrepreneurship education for grades K-12. The 2015 review indicated a substantial increase in K-12 entrepreneurial education efforts when compared to a similar study conducted in 2009.

In higher education, the argument for entrepreneurship education remains compelling. On average, graduates of entrepreneurship programs were three times more likely to be involved in the creation of a new business venture than were their non-entrepreneurship business school cohorts. Entrepreneurship graduates were significantly more apt to be involved in developing new products than non-entrepreneurship graduates. Entrepreneurship graduates spent more time in Research and Development related activities, worked with products that had shorter life spans and were more often employed full- time in high-tech industries. If this is the case, why are communities failing to start more businesses? Are we failing to reach the most important demographic: our new creative class?


Networks are key for entrepreneurs to open doors. To increase opportunity, everyone needs access to experienced mentors and founders who have been there that can help move the needle. In cities, that also means ensuring that networks resemble/reflect the communities where they are located.


Who controls the money is a big factor in where it goes. “When you’re human and you’re funding people who have similar experiences to you, there’s probably a correlation to why it’s all the white men that are getting the investment dollars,” said Case Foundation Senior VP for Social Innovation Sheila Herrling.


Herrling said, “When people don’t see images of successful entrepreneurs that look like them, they’re less likely to believe they can do it, too. The media images are mostly a ‘Mark Zuckerberg face,’ Herrling said, which won’t naturally inspire women and people of color who don’t look like or have the same background as the Facebook founder.  “When we look at the data, it looks like half the team is being left on the sidelines.” Herrling said. That half is more like four fifths when one accounts for all women, people of color, and lower socioeconomic demographics. Current K-12 efforts are not providing advanced STEM plus entrepreneurship education necessary for career or college readiness to underserved students.

“Who were these people and others who raised me?
You do not have to even know all their stories to know their truth.
It takes a village or at the very least a church of great heart to help raise a child.”
– Bill Grace


The Belief of Self and One’s Choices

Both the “Why” for Generations Z and “Output” for the regional economy is yearning for K-16 early educational Ownership. Immersion and saturation of students in an entrepreneurial mindset, fearlessness of failure and self-awareness that are measured and rewarded regardless of output is essential.

The American economy and our way of life are based on Ownership. We own our homes and our cars. The most successful people in American history started with nothing, and their first step was to Own:

  • Their choices
  • Their time
  • Their effort
  • Their willingness to not fear failure
  • Their education
  • Their belief system
  • Their success
  • Their Failure

We strive to “own” our future, even if we work for someone else. Thus, we value both financial ownership and psychological ownership—being in control of resources and lives that are of our own choosing. Entrepreneurship education provides the experience of ownership early in life.


Regional Economy Accelerator

Overview. With an intentional focus on underserved and underrepresented youth, Regional Economy Accelerator brings together the strength of a city/region to leverage STEM plus Entrepreneurship to instill an entrepreneurial mindset — a critical mix of success-oriented attitudes of initiative, intelligent risk-taking, collaboration, and opportunity recognition. This mindset is one of the real “secrets” of America’s prosperity as it helps drive the creativity and innovation of our workers, our companies, and our entrepreneurs. This engine of innovation will be the primary driver of our future economic competitiveness. If we want America’s young people to be fully prepared to succeed in the 21st century, nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset must become a core part of the American educational system.

Regional and Citywide Leadership Team

Working with a regional or city-wide leadership team using the Collective Impact (1) framework. Smith Ventures helps build consensus among stakeholders, communication, design, interview, launch and lead ongoing operations of a regional economy taken ownership and maximizing its human capital pipeline.

The Science of Expertise

Any student can learn to be an entrepreneur. New scientific research shows that the quality of one’s practice is just as important as the quantity. These scientists also believe that expert-level performance is primarily the result of expert-level practice and not due to innate talent. This concept is known as deliberate practice (2). Within the framework of deliberate practice, a real world, hands- on, constructionist approach (3) is used to teach STEM plus Entrepreneurship using a coherent curriculum of integrated solutions.

STEM + Entrepreneurship Program

Urban and Rural Area elementary, middle and high school students will have the opportunity to pursue their creative ideas as entrepreneurs. The STEM plus Entrepreneurship custom program will give each student an actual opportunity to bring their own ideas to life while developing their entrepreneurial skills and STEM knowledge. Students will learn new product development and start-up leadership while receiving advice and feedback from industry veterans and university student mentors on their own ideas, intellectual property, and potential angle and/or venture funding.


Solution Design with Vetted Consortium of Partners
Correlated to National, State, and School Specific Standards

K-12 continuum




Regional Economy Accelerator Education

Major: “How” to Think

Minor: STEM & Traditional Daily Practice

Minor: 21st Century Skills

Tools: Hands On, Digital content, Platform Ideation, Virtual Reality, STEM Certified Teachers, Industry and University level real time feedback

Student Learning: Small group, Pairs, and Individual

Elementary Focus: Design thinking process

Middle School Focus: Engineering and Innovation design process

High School Focus: Innovation and Entrepreneurship Actualization

“Success has to do with deliberate practice. Practice must be focused, determined, 
and in an environment where there’s feedback”
– Malcolm Gladwell

“Not having heard something is not as good as having heard it; having heard it is not as good as having seen it; having seen it is not as good as knowing it; knowing it is not as good as putting it into practice.”
– Xunzi


A daily opportunity to experience ownership. To invest and be invested in by the full strength of the greater XYZ Ecosystem regardless of creed or color. Students will literally own their education output, intellectual property, patents, businesses, grit and self belief.

Professionally develop a STEM Innovation certified teacher in entrepreneurial mindset. A STEM plus Entrepreneurship lab continuum driven by students. This lab will offer fidelity via daily student engagement in order to foster student ownership, global awareness, “choice” expertise, and connection to their industry ecosystem.

Peer Up. Using the relatability, service hours, and “Cool Factor” of college student in STEM and Entrepreneurship majors to mentor k-12 students in real time.

To give Expert level feedback to K-16 students from the comfort of their business day via a web based platform. They should sponsor quarterly innovation pop-up competitions, and biannual shark tanks. This will allow industries of tomorrow to form industry loyalty to the emotional center of the K-12 pipeline.

To provide a K-12 human capital stream that allows the complete sum of XYZ’s children to be the primary catalyst to the economic wheel. A capitalist message to the nation that boosts of the output and attractiveness of XYZ’s economic wheel: organic startup companies, dynamic employees with an entrepreneurial mindset, and the nation’s most inner connected ecosystem that leverages all its human capital God given potential to empower, motivate, and hyper speed student opportunity and development.

The behind the scenes advocate providing support to ensure all students have equal access to the success equation of tomorrow


The Dilemma

Top tier academic areas have limited capacity.

Less than 2% of the population has access to Innovation Ecosystems

50% of all startups are in 5 metro areas

36% – Currently, America’s workforce is at its highest percent of 4-year college graduates

In 2020, 57% of America’s workforce will work in the W2 classic employer-employee model, while attempting to stay ahead of artificial intelligence/job automation

In 2020, 43% of American’s workforce will be self-employed or freelancers

$1 Trillion – Contribution of freelancers to U.S. economy in 2020

The Question…wait for it…

How is your ecosystem preparing each student to thrive in both the 57% and 43%…thus giving the regional economy its best chance to thrive?

How are some of the top universities preparing students to engage in the shifting market place (Traditional and Freelance)?

Stanford University

Undergrad Entrepreneurs


Undergrad Companies Created


Undergrad Students


% Served to be Entrepreneurship/Freelance in 2020 marketplace


University of California, Berkeley

Undergrad Entrepreneurs


Undergrad Companies Created


Undergrad Students


% Served to be Entrepreneurship/Freelance in 2020 marketplace


Harvard University

Undergrad Entrepreneurs


Undergrad Companies Created


Undergrad Students


% Served to be Entrepreneurship/Freelance in 2020 marketplace



Undergrad Entrepreneurs


Undergrad Companies Created


Undergrad Students


% Served to be Entrepreneurship/Freelance in 2020 marketplace


University of Pennsylvania

Undergrad Entrepreneurs


Undergrad Companies Created


Undergrad Students


% Served to be Entrepreneurship/Freelance in 2020 marketplace


Cornell University

Undergrad Entrepreneurs


Undergrad Companies Created


Undergrad Students


% Served to be Entrepreneurship/Freelance in 2020 marketplace


University of Michigan

Undergrad Entrepreneurs


Undergrad Companies Created


Undergrad Students


% Served to be Entrepreneurship/Freelance in 2020 marketplace


University of Texas

Undergrad Entrepreneurs


Undergrad Companies Created


Undergrad Students


% Served to be Entrepreneurship/Freelance in 2020 marketplace


Tel Avis University

Undergrad Entrepreneurs


Undergrad Companies Created


Undergrad Students


% Served to be Entrepreneurship/Freelance in 2020 marketplace


University of Illinois

Undergrad Entrepreneurs


Undergrad Companies Created


Undergrad Students


% Served to be Entrepreneurship/Freelance in 2020 marketplace



Industry… Speak Up!

Which Outcome Profile is your regional economy needing?

Traditional Appreciated Outcome
Student Profile 1:
32 on ACT
3.98 GPA
Meals on Wheels for 4 years
Member of Church
3 years in Band
2 sport Captain
3 years of summer internship

Regional Economy Accelerator Outcome
Student Profile 2:
26 – 32 on ACT
2.7 – 3.5 GPA
2 years in school sports
3 years of Art
3 years of a foreign language
1400 hours of being lead by a STEM Innovation Certified Teacher
1400 hours of STEM Lab
800 hours of Collaborative Learning Teams 800 hours of Empathy & Valuing others
700 hours of Hands on STEM
Exposure to 125 Unique Careers
Attempt to start 5 businesses
300 hours of Entrepreneurship Classes
Applied for 2 patents
100 hours of Industry feedback
200 hours of mentoring young classmates
Competed in 6 innovation challenges
100 21st Century Skills Self and Peer Assessment


How Do You Engage Smith Ventures

Regional Awareness and Design Consulting

  • Host and facilitate Regional Economic Leader Symposiums with local: Government, Industry, University, Foundation and District leaders.  The goal here is to identify local problems, needs, solutions, and funding strategies in order to maximize their K-12 population’s impact on the regional economic wheel.
  • Proprietary Regional Playbook: Provide, lead, and formalize a 4-phase playbook containing a core set of values, discovery of current situation, agreed upon process, and solution
  • Build a process for real time expert level feed back from universities and industry for K-12 students’ innovations.
  • Build the process for district wide quarterly 5-day innovation challenges.
  • Host a series of “town hall” community meetings with a panel of regional leaders, to discuss the new regional playbook.

Regional Innovation Consulting

  • Host and facilitate Regional Economic Leader Symposiums:  Government, Industry and School District leaders coming together with a goal to understand each others’ current state of affairs and future strategies aimed to maximize their K-12 human capital pipeline’s impact on the regional economy
  • Collaborate with Superintendent, Board Chair and District Staff to ensure their strategic plan intersects with the regional economy’s future career needs.
  • Engage and educate regional businesses and universities to gain full participation as student advisors in the district’s innovation program.
  • Introduce Pilot Innovation programs that meet the needs of the Region
  • Build district wide quarterly 5-day innovation challenges.
  • Interact with local and regional media to inform and shape the message of innovation in K-12 via the regional economy’s leadership
  • Host monthly “town hall” meetings with the community in order to keep them abreast of our progress and ask for their continued engagement in their student’s success.
  • Visit schools: inspire Students, collaborate with Teachers, and communicate with Principals.


Contact Smith Ventures Today!

Simply fill out the form to submit an inquiry. See the difference we can make for the community!

While leading national sales teams for 20 years in the Technology, Data, STEM Education and Business Development fields, Todd has provided the regional economies he works with powerful success opportunities and results.  Todd has followed his calling to build dynamic Regional Economies based on all students having an authentic daily opportunity interact with the success equation of tomorrow.  While building and sustaining hope in adults and students is a goal, it is not a strategy. Innovation in charting new directions to solve known problems and increase our mental preparedness to address the inevitably challenges are the goals. Todd Smith believes that when students, communities and industry ecosystems work together on change, communities will enable their children to believe:

  1. They were created wonderfully for a purpose
  2. Their greatest asset is themselves (self-ownership)


“Hope is not a strategy.” This quote from Todd is something that accurately reflects his state of constant being. His concepts inspire and influence thoughts into action which is why entire districts and regions are following his advice to take them from strategy and structural planning to execution and growth stages. In short, Todd is a one-man force multiplier. With his help, we haven’t needed hope as a strategy to take us where we want to go.”

Alan Wang | Director of Development Prairie STEM

“In the course of our work together, Todd has proven an able collaborator with a talent for bringing partners together. He recognizes a national need for evolving STEM education to include innovation and entrepreneurship concepts – a viewpoint that the University of Iowa’s Jacobson Institute shares. The partnership he has built demonstrates his ability to successfully gather likeminded companies for the purpose of moving forward.”

Dawn Bowlus | Director Jacobson Institute

“A better way to describe his approach is a Transformational Consultant. His approach begins with believing that all solutions start with people rather than "stuff" or technology alone. The strength that is immediately evident is his Listening and Questioning skill set. He has consistently calmed and boiled the complexity of challenges to their base building blocks.”

Othello H. Meadows III
 | President/CEO
 Seventy Five North Revitalization Corp.

“I have seen Todd lead a national consortium of partners to create a combined solution offering that developed into a new category and new market. I watched him seek out and establish new and strong relationships with both partners and prospective customers demonstrating strong business development and thought leadership drawing praise from colleagues and more importantly customers.”

Dan Benveniste | Founder, CEO
 Startup Genius Inc

“This time spent together on the road provided a deep insight into the passion and energy with which Todd conducts his business interactions, and overall, how he lives life. Todd is driven by a deeply seated desire to help students all over the country find success in the classroom.”

Matt Frankenbery | Vice President of Pitsco Education

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  1. Invention description(s), technical and business information relating to proprietary ideas and inventions, ideas, patentable ideas, trade secrets, patent searches, existing and/or contemplated products and services, customers, clients, marketing, and current or future business plans and models, regardless of whether such information is designated as “Confidential Information” at the time of its disclosure.
  2. The Recipient agrees not to disclose the confidential information obtained from the discloser to anyone unless required to do so by law. All who reads these documents accepts of these confidentiality requirements

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