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Youth talks with a panel of judges

A participant presents his business

idea to the panel of judges. Through this program, participants practice public speaking and learn how to communicate their ideas effectively- skills that will be important in any field.

Partners in Ministry

Laurinburg, NC

Scotland County

While some kids think summer break is all about relaxing by the pool, the youth at Partners in Ministry know better. They use their free time to learn entrepreneurship skills and start their own business. Through the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative, they meet with business leaders from the community, develop a business plan, and present their business to a panel of investors (similar to the TV show Shark Tank).

The program starts with creative exercises to help participants learn about business management and marketing. They work together to brainstorm business ideas, then decide on the business they would like to create. Representatives from the local community college’s Small Business Center help the youth develop their business plan. Youth participants meet with a local banker who talks to them about opening a bank account for their business and managing money. Local business owners also talk with the youth about their own experiences.

At the end of the summer, each participant presents their business plan to a panel of judges. All participants receive feedback and suggestions for growing their business, and the top three presenters win money to investment in their business. Many of these new business leaders are already earning money before the summer is over.

Here are some examples of businesses participants have started:

  • Private Basketball Coaching

  • Landscape and Lawn Care

  • Pet Walking and Grooming

  • Fashion Design

  • Reinventing the Ice Cream Scoop

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The first step in starting a youth entrepreneurship program is connecting with your local Small Business Center. They provide resources and trainings to anyone interested in starting their own business. Another useful resource is the REAL Entrepreneurship Curriculum, but the trainings are expensive. However, you may be able to connect with a REAL certified educator in your community.

Next, look for people in your community who could help mentor the students. You can talk to local business owners and the Chamber of Commerce. Consider taking the youth on field trips to the Chamber, Small Business Center, and local bank to set up a checking account.

Finally, think about when you would like to hold the program. If you hold it over the summer, do you want to meet over the entire summer or hold the program in one week? Check out this article about a similar two-week program in Edgecombe County.




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