Entrepreneurial Entrepreneurship Teachers – Part 1, Riley Johnson

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure to see some absolutely wonderful teachers in action.  They act entrepreneurial themselves, and as a result they find and cultivate the entrepreneurship in their students!

I have 6 teachers in mind who I already know deserve big kudos for their entrepreneurial work.  Yes, I am going to keep you in suspense for now about who they all are.  Please feel free to nominate your own favorite entrepreneurial teachers in the comments.

First up:  Riley Johnson of Wayne High School’s New Tech Academy.

Riley Johnson dressed for what one student called “Wacky, Tacky Thursday”
Pictured with student Su Su Lwin


I first met Riley a few years ago when a friend invited me to speak to Riley’s New Tech class about student entrepreneurship.  I found a teacher that encourages his students to think for themselves and approach learning entrepreneurially.

I’ve see him and his classes a few times since then.

  1. Once to talk to a digital media class that had a project with commercial possibilities.
  2. Last year, he brought the most students to the Innovation Center’s Youth Entrepreneurship Symposium (YES!) that any school has ever brought.
  3. Two years running to help judge class projects where student teams invent a business concept that brings cultural awareness to our city.  Each year I saw some projects that were thoughtful, bold, and absolutely good enough to commercialize for real.

And that leads me to why I was at New Tech last week.  A few months ago I got a call from Riley.  One of those groups wanted to talk about commercializing their project.  I came out to New Tech, met with them, and encouraged them to apply for the Innovation Center’s Student Venture Lab.  Their application came in, and I did a little research to assure myself that their team could pull off what they want to make – a mobile app for tourism and cultural tourism in Fort Wayne.  An app not just for out of town tourists, but for you and I to discover new wonderful places and events around town.

Meet Alex, Anthony, Su, and Corey – the latest additions to the Student Venture Lab.

Alex Cagle, Anthony Aquino, Su Su Lwin, Corey Mendenhall


We met this week to kick off work on their new venture.  Sometime within the next six months, you are going to be able to use a new mobile app to discover more about our community.

Thanks Riley, for helping bring entrepreneurship out of the classroom and into the community!

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  1. Pingback: Entrepreneurial Entrepreneurship Teachers – Part 3, Dustin Walls | | Steve Franks - Innovation and EntrepreneurshipSteve Franks – Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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