Program for middle and high school students can help fuel start in business world

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UTICA — The Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Mohawk Valley Community College is embarking on its 10th year of transforming middle and high school students into real entrepreneurs. More than 100 students have taken the class since it began during the 2012-2013 school year, gaining information and experience in starting their own business.

Some students are running their own businesses while others are armed with knowledge, resources and connections to aid them in college, work or their future businesses, program organizers said.

Applications for this year’s program are open. Sudents from all local school districts are encouraged to apply and educators are invited to nominate students they believe will excel in the program.  The application deadline is Monday, Oct. 4. Virtual information sessions will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21, and Wednesday, Sept. 22. Application, information and meeting IDs are available online at www.mvcc.edu/yea.

Classes will take place on Wednesdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. from Oct. 13 to May 4. The course format will be a hybrid of in person and virtual classes taking place at thINCubator in Downtown Utica and on Zoom and include lectures, guest speakers, small group work, one-on-one sessions, field trips and more. Locations are subject to change. Classes are not held during school breaks.

The class is open to students in grades 6-12 and class size is limited. Students do not have to have a business idea coming into the class.  

During the class, students:

Learn how to create a business they are passionate about;

Complete market research and develop a business plan;

Work one-on-one with business mentors and graphic designers;

Attend field trips to learn from local entrepreneurs;

Pitch their ideas at a “Shark Tank-style” investor panel presentation to win real start-up funds;

Legally register their business as a DBA;

Take part in a trade show; and

Graduate from the program with lifelong leadership and business skills.

One student from the program is chosen to represent the class at the Saunders Scholars national competition at RIT and will compete against students from all over the country and others are eligible for a variety of prizes and awards. Parents and educators can contact Program Manager Michelle Truett at 315-534-0067 or michelle@484design.com for more information.

Program sponsors include M&T Bank/Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund, Berkshire Bank and First Source Federal Credit Union.

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