Program give East Bay children practical business lesson

Students at Ford Elementary School in Richmond are participating in an intensive 3-day course that aims to give them skills employers are looking for.

The lesson doesn't realy on a clunky textbook, but rather a 20-page packet created by

The global non-profit, based in San Francisco, provides the hands-on and engaging entrepreneurship education program to elementary and middle schools.

The students work in groups to create and run their own movie production company.

They come up with the company name and logo, secure financing and ultimately produce an animated movie as part of the program.

"It's motivating and inspiring," said principal Barbara Penny-James. "We think it's so important that students learn how the world works at an early age."

A corporate donation covered the cost of the program at Ford, a school in a low-income neighborhood where 94 percent of the students receive free breakfast and lunch.

The effort is aimed at preventing students from falling through the cracks and providing a classroom path to entrepreneurship to all.

"Not every kid gets an opportunity to have a conversation about finance topics or applying for jobs at their home," said BizWorld CEO Thais Rezende. "Our mission and vision is that every child in the U.S. will get an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship."

The program wraps up with Box Office Day on Friday, when each company's movie is shown to a live audience.