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SCV youth learn business basics

Young Entrepreneurs graduate

Posted: August 2, 2008 9:31 p.m.
Updated: October 4, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Students who took part in the Young Entrepreneurs Program take part in a last team project to test how well they work together, before their graduation ceremony on Saturday afternoon at the College of the Canyons.

 
One by one, the youngsters walked to the front of the College of the Canyons classroom, posed for photos and were handed a certificate congratulating them for their accomplishment.

Before returning to their seats, the students shared their dream business to a group of parents and leaders from the Small Business Development Center who rewarded them with applause and cheer.

The ideas ranged from owning a shoe store to becoming a pediatrician and even having the “best and largest off-roading company.” Just about every dream involved going to college.

The Saturday afternoon ceremony marked the culmination of the Young Entrepreneurs Program, a four-week summer session for junior high, high school and college students that introduced the skills needed to succeed in business and life.

The program was especially targeted towards kids who typically wouldn’t be able to learn about starting their own business.

“It gets kids interested in entrepreneurship,” said Paul De La Cerda, director of the Small Business Development Center, a local resource center, which organized the program with College of the Canyons.

This summer was the first time the program, also known as Y.E.P., was held. De La Cerda said there are plans to expand the program into the fall and spring months.

Thanks to a grant, De La Cerda said members from the center and assistants from the community college were able to “harness the energy” of the 25 students and give them a glimpse of what it takes to start their own business.

Every Saturday for three hours, De La Cerda said the students from all over the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys met to build confidence, raise self-esteem and increase knowledge through interactive activities.

Students developed business models and even got to create personalized business cards.

At the same time, De La Cerda said the group, led by SBDC consultants Mike and Sandy Wichman, looked at “life as a whole” by taking part in life analyses.

Saturday’s event allowed parents to understand the program by seeing the various activities in motion.

Additionally, De La Cerda said the ceremony served as a way for Y.E.P. leaders to encourage parent involvement.

“We need their participation and effort,” he said.

One of the parents in the audience was Tim Palmer, father of 15-year-old Stephen.

Palmer said his son has been working to start his own teen nightclub. He has spent the past months saving money for his future business.

“He wants to start a business plan,” Palmer, a Valencia resident said, adding that his son has been working on the model all summer.

Palmer is thankful for Y.E.P. because of the opportunities it created for Stephen. “These people are wonderful,” he said.

The students were also pleased with the opportunity.

With awards and goodie bags in hand, Danny Ramirez, 18, and Shelby Mahdi, 17, offered a list of skills they’ve picked up from the four Saturdays.

“Networking, business tactics, how to get your name out there...” Ramirez, a Newhall resident, said.
Mahdi, a Castaic resident, quickly added, “Leadership, time management.”

The two want to continue learning about how to start their own businesses.

After all, Ramirez wants to start his own construction company and Mahdi plans to create an event planning business.

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