Ford Blue Oval Scholarships Awarded at 3rd Annual Future Founders Academy Winning High School Students Honored by Mayor Daley and City Council

South Side teen entrepreneurs experience backstage pass at summer "Taste of Chicago-like" business camp; students awarded $40,000 in college scholarships and cash in competition supported by Ford Motor Company Fund, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and the SME Education Foundation.

CHICAGO, ILL, DEARBORN, Mich., July 28, 2010 — Twenty-five students from eight Chicago Public High Schools were immersed in entrepreneurship at the 2010 Future Founders Academy as they competed in a weeklong interactive summer business camp hosted by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC). The 3rd Annual Future Founders Academy culminated in the award of $30,000 in Ford Blue Oval Scholarships, and provided a backstage pass for the aspiring entrepreneurs to meet with a wide array of some of Chicago's top entrepreneurial businesses. For the second year, Mayor Daley and the Chicago City Council honored Future Founders' winning students with a resolution recognizing their tremendous achievement.

The Future Founders Academy was made possible through a partnership of the CEC, Ford Motor Company Fund, and the SME Education Foundation. The highly engaging week of programming exposed students to entrepreneurship in Chicago including green-tech businesses, leading technology corporations including Microsoft, a gourmet pretzel manufacturer, and a presentation skills workshop at Chicago's famed Second City Theater. The Academy provided team building and individual leadership development opportunities and culminated in a business plan competition. Students gained important entrepreneurial skills including networking, sales, technology, critical thinking, financing, economics, business etiquette and public speaking. The final competition resulted in four winning teams receiving Ford Blue Oval Scholarship Awards totaling $30,000. In addition, students won $10,000 in cash prizes.


"Future Founders exposes motivated high school students in underserved areas to careers in entrepreneurship. Our goal is that the students we work with will soon open their own businesses, work for other entrepreneurs and bring an entrepreneurial spirit to corporations. Through Future Founders Academy we continue to ignite the entrepreneurial spark within each student by showing them the benefits of an entrepreneurial career," said Scott Issen, managing director at the CEC.

"Ford Motor Company Fund is delighted to once again participate in an entrepreneurial program which fosters the development of real world skills — especially in math and science — in a fun learning environment," stated Mike Schmidt, director, Education and Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. "Our Ford Blue Oval Scholarships are designed to support the Future Founders Academy's focus on a positive hands-on approach to learning which connects Chicago entrepreneurs to the next generation of entrepreneurs."

"Our participation in this Academy is one of the many ways that the financial resources of Ford Fund continue to make a difference in the lives of the South Side community of which Ford has been a part for over 100 years," Schmidt added.

On June 25, student teams faced their final competition — vying for Ford Blue Oval Scholarships — with the presentation of their product's business case to a panel of judges from the entrepreneurial community which included Ford Motor Company, Motorola, Microsoft, and the SME Education Foundation, among others.

Ford Blue Oval Scholarship criteria requires that a student is interested in pursuing a Science, Technology, Engineering or Manufacturing related career and plans to pursue a college degree. Scholarship dollars will be administered by the SME Education Foundation and be distributed through the student's school's Financial Aid Office.

The 2010 Ford Blue Oval Scholarship Winners:


  • Eboni Croom, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
  • Marcella Liggins, Junior, Chicago Vocational Career Academy
  • Terrance Thompson, Senior, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School


  • Ryan Lewis, Junior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
  • Mianisha Maxon, Senior, School of Entrepreneurship at the South Shore Campus
  • Saleha Vhora, Senior, Thornton Township High School


  • Parish Betts, Senior, Chicago Vocational Career Academy
  • Cynthia Manzo, Junior, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences
  • Meagan Sims, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy


  • Tatianna Collins, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
  • LaShanee Lawrence, Junior, Chicago Vocational Career Academy
  • Malcolm Wynn, Senior, School of Entrepreneurship at the South Shore Campus

Future Founders Academy:

The 2010 Future Founders Academy is a continuation of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center's Future Founders program that fosters entrepreneurship in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools on Chicago's South Side. During the 2009-10 school year, 160 students from five Chicago Public high schools received insight on creating and running businesses of their own. Throughout the school year, some of the region's top entrepreneurs mentor and advise students as they develop business plans, culminating in an annual citywide business plan competition.

Since its inception in 2005, Future Founders has served 500 students from 10 Chicago public high schools. 400 entrepreneurs and sponsors have contributed 4,500 volunteer hours with more than $165,000 being awarded in cash, prizes and college scholarships.

In addition to the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Future Founders Academy is made possible by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Motorola Foundation, AT&T, Harris Bank, Smart Bet Charity, Microsoft and the CME Group Foundation, and in partnership with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

The Academy includes students from eight South Side Chicago high schools: ACE (Architecture, Construction & Engineering) Technical Charter School, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, Chicago Vocational Career (CVCA), the School of Entrepreneurship at the South Shore Campus, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Thornton Township High School, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and George Washington High School.

About Ford Motor Company Fund & Community Services:

Ford Motor Company Fund & Community Services works to build community through partnerships focused on driving safety, education and American heritage and community life. Established in 1949 and made possible by funding from Ford Motor Company, its programs include Blue Oval Scholarships, which provide more than 500 students with scholarships or mentoring opportunities, and Ford Driving Skills for Life, a teen-focused auto safety initiative. The Ford Volunteer Corps is comprised of 20,000 Ford employees and retirees who provide more than 100,000 volunteer hours each year to support community projects in more than 40 countries.

About Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC):

The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) works at the intersection of business success and civic engagement. It identifies the region's most promising entrepreneurs and helps them build high-growth, sustainable businesses that serve as platforms for economic development and civic leadership for the Chicagoland area. Since 2003, the CEC has helped our client entrepreneurs secure $229 million in revenue, raise $130.5 million in financing, and create or retain nearly 6,000 jobs. In turn, CEC clients fuel the entrepreneurial ecosystem of our city by mentoring young talent, advising their peers, and joining the CEC "movement" to inspire entrepreneurship in Chicagoland. The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center is an affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. To learn more visit and

About the SME Education Foundation:

The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit the SME Education Foundation at and supporting advanced manufacturing careers and our award-winning website, Manufacturing is Cool.