Since the early 1980’s, REAL has been working to make entrepreneurial training accessible to the communities and people who need it most. Initially designed to help rural high school students, REAL now serves people of all ages and communities of all sizes.
Founded by Dr. Jonathan Sher and Dr. Paul DeLargy, REAL (Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning) provides curricula, training, and resources to help rural America grow through hands-on entrepreneurship education that prepares active, self-sufficient and productive citizens to contribute to their communities’ social and economic development.
- The REAL program is taught in 43 states and foreign countries – 290 high-school, 151 post-secondary, 92 community-based and on-line, and 420 elementary and middle school facilitators use REAL curricula.
- REAL provides hands-on entrepreneurship education to over 10,000 students of all ages annually; over 1,200 instructors have been trained in the REAL program.
- Since 1985 more than 12,000 youth and adults have received intensive entrepreneurship training from North Carolina REAL. On average, 2.5 jobs have been created per REAL business start-up, generating $3 million in sales per month across the state.
- REAL is highlighted in Cultivating Successful Rural Economies: Benchmark Practices at Community Colleges by Regional Technology Strategies, Inc. The report reviews 43 successful models—including three community colleges that use REAL—and features several programs in detailed case studies.