Pictured from left: St. Amant High School’s Miah Brown, Dutchtown High School’s Lillian Tepper, and Donaldsonville High School’s Jayla WalkerBaton Rouge, La. —Three college students from Ascension Public Schools are currently enrolled in a aggressive program generally identified as the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge, or YEA BR. Miah Brown, a senior at St. Amant High School; Lilian Tepper, a junior at Dutchtown High School; and Jayla Walker, a senior at Donaldsonville High School were chosen from a pool of applicants within the Greater Baton Rouge Area.
YEA BR was launched slightly over 5 years in the past by Founder and Chair Deborah Sternberg, who was born and raised in Baton Rouge. “Now that we’re in yr five, we’ve had over one hundred college students undergo this program,” Sternberg mentioned. “And with the present class launching 19 firms, eighty five startups will have launched with the Secretary of State’s Office by subsequent April.”
Students participating in YEA BR could differ in their individual passions and objectives, but they all share one frequent curiosity –– beginning a business.
“We’re in search of college students who’ve curiosity and revolutionary considering,” Sternberg said. “They don’t necessarily have to have a business thought after they apply, but they know that in the course of the educational year they will be not solely launching a startup however submitting it with the Secretary of State’s office and pitching it for actual seed funding at a ‘Shark Tank’-like group pitch that we now have.”
The program follows a nationwide curriculum, which is damaged up into trimesters. For the first nine weeks, they work with the instructor who’s an entrepreneur at LSU. It’s referred to as “The Big Idea” –– figuring out what enterprise they are thinking about launching and matching their pursuits to an issue they see in the neighborhood and coming up with that business idea.
The students are at present in the second nine weeks. They are being paired with knowledgeable graphic designer from the community who works with them on a brand for their startup. Each business can be paired up with business mentors and financial mentors, who work with them over six class periods to fine-tune and flesh out an actual marketing strategy.
“Part of it’s the mentoring course of,” Executive Director Bethany Robicheaux mentioned. “We match mentors as a lot as we’re able to who may have expertise in these areas to information them in the process, which is basically particular beyond this.”
“Once the enterprise plans are done firstly of February, we’re gearing up with presentation skills and public speaking opportunities in order that the scholars are able to pitch in front of a pair hundred folks on the group pitch on March 8th,” Sternberg said.
They work on slide decks and their presentation for several weeks. Every week they get a visitor speaker to show them about issues like tax, intellectual property, public speaking, and banking. They’re primarily building a basis in business fundamentals that they can use for the remainder of their lives.
“It really units them apart,” Sternberg stated. “Not everybody will finally be an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur myself, it’s very exhausting. If you undergo this program and ultimately determine that starting and launching and continuing a business is not for me, that’s completely fine. They are going to be superb staff because they perceive the basics of a business –– why the proprietor of the business will ask for a marketing price range, what a PNL is, the significance of gratitude and curiosity, having the power to stand on their own two ft and speak for themselves in a polite and sensible means –– so, they’re an enormous asset to firms, as properly.”
When they graduate in April, college students not solely get a certificates in entrepreneurship, but they’re additionally qualified for 3 credits from LSU’s enterprise college in the occasion that they determine to attend college there.
“We’re not only a year-long program, however there are alternatives after they graduate to interact with the audio system and different opportunities as graduates of YEA,” Sternberg said. “We’re constructing a pipeline of businesspeople in Louisiana.”
ASCENSION’S STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS
It’s necessary not to give away everything concerning the businesses that the three Ascension college students are starting as a end result of they will make a detailed pitch at the finish of the session. Here is a high-level overview:
•Miah Brown of St. Amant High School is in a partnership with another scholar. They are creating a brand new type of merchandising machine. Part of their focus is on comfort. “YEA BR has been a beautiful educational expertise. It has really taught me how companies are developed from conception to launch,” mentioned Brown. “While it’s against the YEA BR I signed to divulge what I am launching, I can say that it’ll assist to make faculty life safer and more convenient. My enterprise companion and I are excited in regards to the potentialities that this new enterprise will deliver.”
•Lilian Tepper of Dutchtown High School is engaged on an app to construct to bring together those who have particular needs with different students for playdates. It can also feature a roundup of sensory-sensitive occasions.“Through my Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge journey, I truly have discovered so many classes to use in a business setting and socially. For example, I am learning the means to be handiest in getting a point throughout and tips on how to strategy enterprise funds – things I had not thought of earlier than. I even have made new associates and gotten concerned in addressing the needs of the neighborhood round me. The problems I noticed as most significant are the issues between children with special needs and their involvement in the neighborhood. My enterprise aim is to bridge that gap and inform households of opportunities around them,” said Tepper. “I am very grateful for the flexibility to partake in such a corporation that gives me the possibility to get help from some amazing individuals. I look forward to sharing my progress and cannot await what the future holds for my business.”
•Jayla Walker of Donaldsonville High School is creating and launching a model new hair product. This has a chemistry component.“Being part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge has truly been an incredible experience over the past few months. Participating in the Academy has taught me the ins and outs of creating and managing a profitable enterprise. The better part has been studying to take a expertise I actually have and turn it right into a worthwhile enterprise. I am wanting forward to launching my business utilizing the wealth of information I really have learned from this program,” stated Walker.
“These college students are nice examples of seeing a necessity in the community and being artistic of their thinking,” Sternberg said.
Seventeen students have been accepted from the public college system in Ascension Parish over the five years of the academy.
“It’s large,” Sternberg stated. “We are thrilled with our partnership and need to continue constructing with the public colleges in Ascension. It’s actually superb the transformation of a pupil who’s hesitant to speak in entrance of 20 folks firstly of orientation, to turn out to be capable of get up and pitch and reply questions on the fly in front of 200 folks in March.”
YEA BR is open to eighth via 12th-grade college students in the nine-parish Greater Baton Rouge Area. Students from public, non-public, constitution, and homeschooled apply for the academy. Classes are held every Wednesday night from 5-8 p.m. at the LSU Business Education Complex on the College of Business at LSU.
One of an important issues for an applicant is that they’re capable of stay committed, since they spend about a hundred hours on high of high school engaged in this system.
The application period for next yr is open now, and the appliance deadline is in August. For more info and to use, go to