How many of us in middle or high school ever considered owning and/or running a business? Heck, how many of us are willing to consider it even now? As we help our students discover the multitude of careers that may be available to them, we often overlook the opportunities that come from being an entrepreneur and small business owner.

Giving students the opportunity to learn about business and actually start one of their own, now, with help from all of us, gives them the skills now that will serve them well in business in the future whether it is continuing down the path to CEO/Owner or working for someone else. The Young Entrepreneurs Academy Program was embraced by this Chamber six years ago as a way to help young people discover that they have what it takes to start a business…maybe even multiple businesses in the future. The program requires commitment…a lot of commitment. Not only must students be willing to work hard and attend three-hour classes once a week for 25 weeks but we, the business community, must also commit to be teachers, mentors and investors

By now, many of you have heard that our Saunders Scholar Toly Chinn, a Redlands middle schooler, represented our program at the National Competition last month in Rochester, NY. He competed against the best of the best from 120 other chamber YEA! programs and we are proud of him. He won the people’s choice award in his flight of competition. But we are also proud of the nine other budding entrepreneurs that started businesses this year and the 33 previous participants in this program that started businesses. And I’m particularly proud of our many sponsors and supporters who made this program what it is today and continue to support it.

Recruitment has begun for our fifth class which starts in early October. If you know of a middle or high school student that would be a good fit call the office, 970.242.3214 and we will personally reach out to them. Class size is limited and we already have applications so it is not too soon. Recruitment is also starting for business people willing to help with instruction, host field trips and act as mentors. And, finally, we are also looking for funders to help provide seed money for these ventures and scholarships for those who need. Email Darcy (darcy@gjchamber.org) for more information or to volunteer. We were all kids once…it is up to us to show the kids of today the thrill of being successful in commerce. As one of our Chamber guiding principles notes, “A healthy community is dependent upon a healthy economy.” YEA! is one way we work toward that principle. CareerWise is another but we will talk about that next month!

Click here to download the full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce June 2019 Newsletter.

360 Grand Avenue | Grand Junction, Colorado | (970) 242-3214
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