• History of Young Entrepreneurs of Lubbock (YEL)
    Coach Ron Vick (Founder and Sponsor)

    It goes back to Mr. Ron Bailey (Southwest Lubbock Rotary Club - SWLRC). Mr. Bailey’s passion for business….. His passion for education…..and his passion for the rotary club… “Service Above Self”…..Mr. Bailey was the driving force behind the SWLRC high school program known as the “Free Enterprise In the Classroom”.

    Back in the mid 80’s the SWLRC had a guest speaker series design to reach all the high school seniors in Lubbock ISD and the surrounding area high schools. Members of the SWLRC volunteered to speak in the high school economics classes. Students were able to hear first-hand experiences from business leaders within the Lubbock community. It was an excellent application of what the students were learning in regards to business startup, business development and business growth.

    As a result of this program in 1988 we started the first high school entrepreneurship program of its kind in the country, at that time, for high school students. I was able to write the curriculum for this program as an application to what was currently being taught in my economics classes.

    This program, named the Young Entrepreneurs of Lubbock (YEL) by the students, was based on the old Chinese Proverb, “If you give a man a fish you can feed him for a day but if you teach a man to fish you can feed him for a lifetime.” The dream of owning and operating your own business is an attractive idea to many young people.

    This program has 5 phases……

    The 1st phase is teaching business development. The students learned how to develop and apply a successful business plan. With the help of Mr. Bailey, we were able to present our business plans to the loan officers at American State Bank. These business plans included being the official T-Shirt sponsor for the Texas Council for the Social Studies State Convention, a T-Shirt for our retiring principal Knox Williams called “The School of Hard Knox” and a video called the “Center Of It All” on how to start your own high school entrepreneurship program at your high school…..which some of you volunteered your time to be interviewed for the video. The students did apply these business principles in the process and sold all of these items.

    We were able to open an on campus school bookstore. This was another excellent opportunity for our students to apply their business skills.

    The 2nd phase, with the help of Mr. Bailey, is a mentor program called the “Mentor in Free Enterprise” program. This was a mentoring relationship between members of the SWLRC and YEL. This mentorship relationship was developed to best meet the needs of the students and the mentors. It lasted the entire school year.

    Which by the way, some students, last I heard, still meet with their mentors today…..

    The 3rd phase, is the guest speaker series… This part of the program provided opportunities for the students to meet business professionals who are important to the entrepreneur. The students were able to listen to, examine and differentiate opposing viewpoints on significant business issues. Several of our speakers came from the SWLRC.

    The 4th phase, is Network Development….Networking introduced the students to many types of businesses. It provided access to current resource material which helped in business preparation. The students were able to join the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs (ACE). ACE was founded by college students at Wichita State University as an outgrowth of their Center for Entrepreneurship under the direction of Professor Fran Jabara. Its purpose was to provide young entrepreneurs, national and international, with resources and knowledge on how to run a successful small business.

    The Young Entrepreneurs of Lubbock were the first high school entrepreneurship program in the United States to ever be affiliated with the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs. YEL was able to attend 3 ACE National Conventions…..we went to Atlanta, Georgia / St. Louis, Missouri and Dallas, Texas.

    As a result of our YEL program in promoting student entrepreneurship we were selected the ACE Southwest Region Chapter of the Year twice…..another highlight for the students was being able to meet and visit Michael Dell at the convention.

    The 5th phase, is Elementary Education. This part of the program gave the students the opportunity to return to the community in a sharing role their experiences in the free enterprise program. The students applied the principles they learned in the classroom through business development, the mentor program, the guest speaker series and network developing by creating a program called “Elementary Education in Free Enterprise”. The students were able to make their presentations to elementary schools during their “Career Days”, junior high schools and high schools.

    The students at the ACE Convention in Dallas were able to present their program to 200 Gifted and Talented Elementary school students in the Richardson School District. They also made several presentations to the Highland Park High School Economics classes.


    In 1988, we were able to meet as a class on our non-academic Fridays. This was an excellent supplement to our economics course. Today, we meet before school on a schedule set up by our student members.

    If you are interested in additional information on our high school entrepreneurship program please e-mail Coach Vick at ........ rvick@lubbockisd.org