Ernie Colburn: Coming off great success, YEA! will be even better

The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce has just graduated its first class of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy

Now you’re probably thinking: “Great. … What’s the Young Entrepreneurs Academy?”

Well, it’s a program for students in grades 6 through 12 from public schools and private schools that have the opportunity to come up with a big idea, pitch to a panel of investors for the opportunity to get real cash funding for their business idea, then launch a REAL business or social movement followed by marketing their business or social movement to the public in a tradeshow to create awareness, generate real sales and gain customers.

Called YEA!, the academy is a 30-week course running November through May. The Chamber is now accepting applications for our second year of the program.

You can really “Start as a student and Graduate as a CEO!” Having participated in the interview process last fall, I was amazed at the level of talent demonstrated by these students. The interview panel spent weeks going through the interviews and selecting only 24 students to participate in the program.

Tough job, believe me!

Now, to give you some idea what these applicants for the YEA! program must do to get in front of the interview panel (keep in mind, these are 6th through 12th grade students), each student must answer these questions with a brief response:

Why are you interested in learning about entrepreneurship?

If you are currently in the process of launching your own business or social movement, or you have a creative and innovative idea for a business or social movement, please describe.

What entrepreneurial endeavor/story, either from the past or currently, inspires you?

Then each student has to write a 300-word essay on the following topic: Successful entrepreneurs share similar characteristics, such as persistence, inquisitiveness, self-confidence, tolerance for failure, creativity, innovation, personal initiative, competitiveness, commitment, and strong management and organizational skills. Describe a situation when you demonstrated at least two of these characteristics, and the outcome.

THEN each student has to have their school submit their most current transcript PLUS letters of recommendation from teachers, guidance counselors, employer or community leaders.

Students who apply to the YEA! Program should be responsible individuals who pursue goals with tenacity. Prior experience in business is not required. This program is above and beyond maintaining your regular school work through the academic year.

The opportunities that are available to young students today are almost beyond belief. Here’s a chance where these select students can begin learning the skills that will change their life.

If you know of an individual that can meet these high standards, contact the Chamber for more information. Call 410-749-0144, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Ernie Colburn is CEO of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce.

 

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