An expandable golf putter for growing kids. A multifunctional back seat table for vehicles. A nonprofit to help support Title IX schools.
These are among some of the business ideas coming out of Knoxville’s inaugural class of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, a year-long program that teaches middle and high school students how to start and run their own original businesses.
The students learn how to create business plans, prototypes, products, logos and websites, as well as go after actual funding. The program culminates in late February with pitches to an investor panel, which will award some students with a cash infusion for their businesses.
This week, I had the opportunity to speak to this amazing group of young entrepreneurs at the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business.
I shared my entrepreneurial journey, giving advice and talking about niche markets. At Fletcher Marketing + PR, we differentiate ourselves through our expertise in marketing to women, the world’s most powerful consumer.
Some advice I shared included:
- Find a mentor or business coach
- Establish a personal relationship with a reputable banker
- Be on time
- A little humility goes a long way
- Don’t make assumptions
- Know when to accept defeat and move on
- Always be on the lookout for your next revenue stream
And of course, don’t forget to have fun!
The evening culminated in an explosion of selfies via Fletcher Marketing + PR selfie sticks, which we were excited to provide to every student. Because every young entrepreneur needs their own selfie stick, right?
The experience was just as rewarding for me, as it encouraged me to pause and take in the pure adrenalin that comes with being an entrepreneur.
Best of luck to these creative, young entrepreneurs. May your wildest dreams come true!