Press Releases


For Immediate Release
June 15, 2007 Contact: Charles Evenson
608-266-2026

Entrepreneurs to Reveal Secrets to Educators and Ultimately Students

Acclaimed National Institute Offers Teachers First-Hand Look at Private Enterprise

(Madison) Fifty high school educators from around the country will get a rare up close look at entrepreneurs in action at the opening session of the 2007 National Institute of Financial and Economic Literacy (NIFEL). Paychecks, Financial Contracts and Entrepreneurship runs June 18-22 at Edgewood College in Madison. Participants will hear a panel of entrepreneurs and visit businesses created by them. The tour of businesses includes Betty Lou Cruises, Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc. and Capital Brewery. Attendees also will see a video presentation by Alex Vodenlich, president, Gentel Bio Surfaces, a bio-tech company.

The NIFEL is presented by the Wisconsin Jump$tart Coalition, a nonprofit organization which last year won a Governor’s Financial Literacy award for its work in promoting financial literacy. The goal of NIFEL’s three sessions is to show educators how to teach their students about personal finance, money management and some economics. The NIFEL has been named “a recognized best practice for teacher training” by the Financial Literacy and Education Commission of the United States Department of the Treasury.

“The National Institute program creates a rare opportunity for a meeting of educators and entrepreneurs,” said DFI Secretary Lorrie Keating Heinemann who chairs the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy which Governor Doyle created two years ago to advise him on how to improve financial literacy in Wisconsin. “Entrepreneurs are vital to helping Wisconsin’s economy grow. The real winners will be students back in the classrooms who will get this important information and have exposure to the benefits and opportunities associated with becoming an entrepreneur.”

The program also includes sessions on franchising and the history of entrepreneurship. A panel presentation by several entrepreneurs called True Stories includes a question-and-answer session. Presenters include Richard Entenmann, president, Asset Builders of America, Inc.; Jeff Bonner, vice-president of operations, Culvers Restaurants; Joseph Saari, president, Precision Information Systems; and Tom Still, president, Wisconsin Technology Council. Pam Christianson, Wisconsin Department of Commerce, will serve as moderator of the panel.

The need for improved financial literacy is great. A nationwide survey conducted in 2006 by the National Jump$tart Coalition of graduating 12th graders showed them scoring only slightly above 50 percent on a test of their financial knowledge. Four related surveys over the past eight years have produced similar results.

The NIFEL results from a major collaborative effort by several major sponsors including the CBM Credit Education Foundation (founding sponsor), Northwestern Mutual Financial Network (national sponsor), Edgewood College, Wisconsin Jump$tart Coalition and DFI.

For more information about the National Institute of Financial and Economic Literacy contact David Mancl, Director of DFI’s Office of Financial Literacy, at 608-261-9540 or email him at david.mancl@dfi.state.wi.us.