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Students Explore Entrepreneurship

Contact: Dan Adkins

Photo of Tony Allen, vice president of Community Focus of Cincinnati, sharing his advice with 17 minority youth.
Tony Allen, vice president of Community Focus of Cincinnati, shares his advice with 17 minority youth participating in Camp YES: Young Entrepreneurs Succeed.

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During the week, the teens – high school sophomores, juniors and seniors – will participate in a variety of activities to hone their business skills. The activities include preparing business plans, writing and videotaping television commercials, and testing their business models via computer simulations.

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June 18, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Tony Allen scribbled on the whiteboard with a green marker and declared, “Businesses are here to do this.”

“Serve,” he wrote, while 17 Lexington-area teens listened intently.

“The moment you decide for it to do anything else, you’re going to do this,” he said, and wrote, “Fail.”

Allen, vice president of Community Focus of Cincinnati, was the first speaker at this week’s Camp YES: Young Entrepreneurs Succeed, a program designed to teach minority youth the basics of how to launch businesses. The program is organized by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center in the University of Kentucky Carol Martin Gatton College of Business and Economics.

During the week, the teens – high school sophomores, juniors and seniors – will participate in a variety of activities to hone their business skills. The activities include preparing business plans, writing and videotaping television commercials, and testing their business models via computer simulations.

The pace of activities is hectic, beginning each day at 9 a.m. and continuing almost uninterrupted until 9:30 p.m.

A number of business leaders will share their personal experiences in business and offer insights into how to obtain start-up capital and financing to support expansions.

Among the speakers will be: Jeff Smith of Smith & Associates of Lexington, discussing a variety of tax and permit issues; Amy Taylor of Community Ventures of Lexington, examining subjects that business plans should address; Lexington bankers Cedric Jenkins and Ben McIntosh, explaining how a banker assesses the risks of making business loans; and UK President Lee T. Todd Jr., himself a successful entrepreneur, sharing how he launched two high-tech companies.

The program’s participants include Andre Tunstill, 16, a rising junior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

“I want to feel the exciting experience of the business environment, because eventually I’d like to start my own business,” Tunstill said.

Jonathan Owens, 17, a rising senior at Tates Creek High School, had two purposes. “I want to get a grasp of the college campus experience so I'll know what to expect when I go to college.

“I also want to get a look at the ‘behind-the-scenes’ stuff that goes on in businesses,” he said.

Mark Johnson, assistant director of the Lexington area Small Business Development Center, is the organizer of the program.


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