The Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State is partnering with the West Fresno Family Resource Center to teach middle school students the ins and outs of entrepreneurship through a pilot project called the Lyles Young Entrepreneur Incubator.

Through the project, 15 middle school students, largely from Gaston Middle School in Fresno, will plant and care for a crop of sweet potatoes over the summer. By attending the Lyles Young Entrepreneur Incubator, students will learn various business concepts, such as how to create a business plan, how to market their product, and how the sales process works. Students will then go on to harvest the sweet potatoes and create a marketable product.

President Castro’s passion for agriculture and students in the Central Valley led to his contacting the Lyles Center and putting this project into motion.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the West Fresno Family Resource Center,” said Dr. Scott Moore, interim executive director of the Lyles Center. “The Lyles Young Entrepreneur Incubator is an investment not only in the students participating, but also in the local economy.”

The Lyles Young Entrepreneur Incubator will begin July 5 at the Smittcamp Alumni House at Fresno State. Students will participate in bi-weekly sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. until Aug. 2.

For more information, contact Laurie Zaninovich at or 559.278.3735.