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Young Entrepreneurs Learn from Business Leaders

When Anthony Horn was six years old, he wasn’t playing with army men like other youngsters his age; he took apart a Power Mac GE computer.

“My inspiration for technology and being in a business came from Apple. I have always been a fan of Apple, but the way Steve Jobs [CEO of Apple] thinks simply inspires me. He knew what he was doing, with Apple, Pixar, and NExT,” Horn said.

Horn is going to be a junior at Coconino High School this fall and is looking forward to his educational opportunities there. He recently took his interest in technology beyond the high school classroom when he attended a week-long seminar for budding entrepreneurs coordinated by the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET). The program is called Young Entrepreneurial Scholars, or YES.

“I wanted to participate in this program because I have a dream to change the world with technology. And if I were to just jump into it, error would come quickly. This program will help me understand what I need to do to create and manage a successful company,” he said.

During the week, nine high school students were provided with hands-on entrepreneurship training. “The Chamber has long focused on local youth and the potential impact they have on local businesses after graduation. It is important that students understand that we encourage their entrepreneurial thinking and that even the smallest ideas can blossom into small businesses. We want students to have the opportunity to put their ideas into practice,” Julie Pastrick chief executive officer of the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce said.

All it takes is one good idea with the right set of support and business success tools for someone to be their own boss and launch their own small business. We hope that this week gives our participants the chance to put their ideas into practice,” she continued.

Stephanie Hoyt, 16, also participated in the scholar’s week. She is going into her junior year at Northland Preparatory Academy. “I wanted to participate in the YES week program because of the experience. Entrepreneurship has always interested me. My parents started their own business and they both love what they do. I still do not know what I would like to do after I get out of school, so going to this camp will hopefully clarify if I want to go into entrepreneurship or not,” Hoyt said.

Hoyt’s interests are varied and she is driven to expand her skill set. “I love to read and learn. I also frequently babysit and tutor every once in awhile. At school, I am a member of the Baking Club, Grand Canyon Youth, Mock Trial, and Student Council,” she added. At the seminar, she presented her idea of starting a company that offers all organic products, from food to clothing, a type of organic Target, she says. Hoyt led a group of students in molding a business plan to create such a company on paper.

During the training event, students learned several components about entrepreneurial opportunities and operating their own businesses. Among many activities, they gained an understanding of entrepreneurship as a viable career option, learned about available resources in Northern Arizona to help business owners once they opened their business, they met and learned from successful entrepreneurs, brushed up on their social skills and learned how to work confidently in groups.

Jeff Saville, vice president with NACET, said, “This was a great opportunity for area teens to learn about what it takes to create business ideas and bring them to fruition.”

Jamey Hasapis and Trish Rensink of the BelleWether Group facilitated the event and led students through many of the activities. “A lot of time in school we get only theory and we don’t learn how to adapt English, math and science and transfer them into a workable business plan. This week was an opportunity for the students to meld their education and skills,” Hasapis said.

“We want to see more spirit in the business world. I hope I helped to inspire more confidence in these students and teach them to solve problems and find opportunities,” Rensink said.

Students learned how to create a business plan, develop a company website, and record a company video for podcasting – many of the skills necessary to succeed in the current economy and business environment. Horn says he’ll take every bit of advice he learned and try to apply it to his dreams.

“The profession I want to get into after school is simply technology. I want to rethink everything we have, and make it better, smarter, and more affordable. I want to create jobs for people,” Horn said. FBN



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