We spoke last week about the importance of cities, businesses and associations to properly prepare for the future they want, not the future as it may happen. Over this coming year the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce will embark on a forward thinking agenda of finding the next round of business leaders. Manhattan Beach and the surrounding communities are blessed to have such amazing business people today but who is next to take the reins? That is something every society needs to think about and put forth a plan. That being said, over the next 12 months the Chamber will launch both the Young Entrepreneurs Academy and the Entrepreneur Committee. While they have similar names and purposes they will serve two of the most crucial demographics for our economy.
An entrepreneur, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is someone who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money. While that is a very simple way of looking at it, the majority of entrepreneurs start something due to a need they see in their community and/or want to find a way to better themselves. According to the US Department of State, 52% of all people are employed by a small business. That is a staggering number when you think about it, and what training did those people have? While many have been successful, it is not hard to imagine the road would have been easier with some help and guidance.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) will focus on helping the youth in our community prepare themselves for the business world. Running concurrently with the school year and starting in September, 24 students will have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of starting, operating and owning their own business. The first half of the year will focus completely on what is needed to be successful from accounting, permitting, writing a business plan and many other areas. The second half of the year will focus on students writing their business plan, researching what it will take to start their business and then putting the plan into action should they choose. At the end of the program students will be presented with an opportunity to apply for some seed funding for their business. YEA was first started at The University of Rochester with support from the Kaufman Foundation in 2004. Since its inception the program has led to the start-up of more than 1,000 business and over $500,000 in scholarships for the students who have participated. To learn more please visit: http://www.manhattanbeachchamber.com/yea/
Not to leave out the remainder of the community, the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce is proud to share their newest program also starting in September. The Entrepreneur Committee will focus on providing a year-long curriculum for people starting a business, making a change or just looking for some guidance. Our co-chairs Elisabeth Swardstrom (CEO of PixelFish) and David Curry (VP, Mortgage Lending at Bank of Manhattan) have worked long and hard to develop a once a month program where they will have subject matter experts share their knowledge and experience. Monthly focus groups will range from business law to proper financial planning for your business. In addition to the development aspect there will be a time to meet and greet with each of the attendees and participants, as building your business is as much about who you know as what you know.
We encourage you to get involved with these great opportunities and either prepare yourself for the next step or help develop the future of Manhattan Beach. This city was built on people taking a chance and going out on their own.
How great would it be to say you were a part of the next wave of success?