April 25: Camp aims to inspire future Evanston entrepreneurs

By: Evanston Review
Published: April 25

Some Evanston teens will have a chance this summer to witness entrepreneurs in action and develop a business concept of their own to pitch to a mock panel of investors.

The Youth Organizations Umbrella is launching a summer program to provide 20 teens insight into starting and running a business.

Participants in the five-week program will even receive a $25 Visa gift card for each week of perfect attendance, and an additional gift card upon successful completion of the program. How cool is that?

“The gift card is a way to reinforce the idea that this is like a job,” said Seth Green, YOU’s executive director .

The sampling of businesses will include a pet spa and a pizza parlor, fun concepts that are easy to relate to, but follow the same principles as any other business.

“Whether you are running a pet spa or an accounting shop, you have to do a profit-and-loss statement. You have to think about, ‘What value am I offering?’” said Green. “We are trying to start with some of the types of businesses that kids may gravitate towards.”

The YES! Camp, which is free to participants, will run from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. from June 18 to July 19. The afternoon camp will meet at Evanston Township High School Monday through Thursday, the days when summer school is in session. On Fridays, participants will take field trips to visit area businesses. “The goal is that on Fridays, they will actually be going out, shadowing and seeing different workplaces firsthand,” said Green.

Participation in the camp is open to all incoming ninth through 12th grade students. Special preference will be given to low-income and minority students.

A curriculum has been provided by the Junior Entrepreneurs of Minnesota program from faculty at the University of Minnesota. A grant from the Illinois State Board of Education is providing most of the program’s funding. Funds from an anonymous donor are being used to provide the gift card incentives.

Two information nights are planned for students and/or parents from 6:30 to 8 p.m. May 1 and the following Tuesday, May 8, in Room W201 at Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston. Dinner will be provided. Applications to participate are due on or before May 14. The forms are available at yeseths.org.

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