Entrepreneur Spotlight
Hayley Perry Romano headshot
Photo: H. Doyle
Hayley Perry Romano ’90 helps students understand business basics.
by Miranda Williams ’23
As a mother and elementary school teacher, Hayley Perry Romano ’90 noticed a gap in the average public school curriculum: Students weren’t being taught basic business concepts nor the value of creative innovation.

To address this gap, she developed TREP$ (short for “entrepreneur”), a project-based learning program providing students in grades 4 to 8 with a wide array of entrepreneurial skills. TREP$ is typically integrated into voluntary after-school programs, but many schools include it in their daily curricula. Since Romano launched TREP$ in 2007, it has grown to include 180 schools in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania catering to 40,000 students, and it earned the PTA Champion for Children Award and the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Award.

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“A teacher has to have a ‘whatever it takes’ mentality — entrepreneurs need the same thing.”
To develop budding entrepreneurs, the TREP$ curriculum focuses on topics such as conducting marketing research, delivering sales pitches and product advertising in addition to the basics of leadership, financial literacy and career readiness. The program also advocates integrating social and environmental awareness into products, and pursuing projects that address community concerns.

At Bucknell, Romano majored in international relations, intent on a law career. But after taking a few education electives, her interest shifted. “When it comes to facilitating entrepreneurial foundations, a background in education is often much more important than just a business perspective,” Romano says. “A teacher has to have a ‘whatever it takes’ mentality — entrepreneurs need the same thing.”