TODAY'S NEWS

YEP seeks young entrepreneurs

Page News and Courier

LURAY ― Organizers of a young entrepreneur program are hoping that budding crafters, local business leaders and community members just say YEP.

Presented through a partnership between the local school system, the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center, the Hawksbill Trading Co. and Lord Fairfax Community College, Page County's Young Entrepreneur Program is aimed at helping young participants develop and implement business plans.

The program kicked during the 2016-17 school year thanks to a one-time $22,596 grant. Local organizers opted to continue the program this school year, raising money to fund YEP through community donations.

“In good faith we decided to rally and raise the support needed to keep this worthwhile program going,” said YEP Coordinator and President of the the Hawksbill Trading Co. Board of Directors Jay North. “The first year helped us to assess and recognize the need for a program like this in our community. Now, we are continuing to educate [participants], inspire them and assist them in their special skills, integrating them into the business community.”

Open to Page County residents between the ages of 16 and 25, the free, weekly program is held Monday evenings at Luray High School, where they hear from local business leaders, meet with mentors and develop business plans based on interests or services of their choice.

The program is aimed at crafters, creators and hobbyists who may not know who to “turn a skill into a business,” said North, but also, “kids who haven't charted a course for themselves in life.

“We want to teach them that all the things that make them unique and make them who they are can be capitalized on.”

Last year's YEP winner, 23-year-old Gabrielle Van Wyck, has continued expanding her business White Sales Photography thanks in part to the program. The young photographer now travels throughout the state, the nation and beyond, capturing families, couples, weddings and more.

“I learned a lot during YEP from different business owners that came in and talked about their growth and their start-ups,” Van Wyck said. “I was really inspired by the whole program.”

North counted the young entrepreneur as “a true success story.”

“For me, that's what the program is all about,” North said. “If even one young person comes out of the program recognizing their skills and their value and we've given them the tools they need to success — it was worth it.”

YEP officially kicked off on Oct. 16, but is accepting participants through next Monday, Oct. 23. Those interested in participating should attend the Oct. 23 meeting at 4 p.m. at Luray High School. The weekly sessions run through Dec. 18.

YEP is additionally seeking food and community sponsors and local business leaders in all fields to serve as special speakers and mentors. Those interested should email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or call 743-1819.




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