Teen entrepreneurship program gives Boys & Girls Club members chance to help local businesses

Boys and Girls Club member Natalie Ontiveros, 15, takes notes during the club's New Entrepreneurship Network on Monday.

Boys and Girls Club member Natalie Ontiveros, 15, takes notes during the club's New Entrepreneurship Network on Monday.

The students at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada have the chance to help local businesses with consulting work in order to create solutions for business challenges.

The New Entrepreneurship Network class at the Boys and Girls Club is a six-week program that helps teenagers think like business owners and improve their financial and marketing skills. The program is a collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club and the Hop & Mae Adams Foundation.

“They are learning about other opportunities, life planning, thinking of managing a budget and thinking like a problem solver,” said Alex Ellison, executive envisioner for the New E class.

The students had a wide range of businesses to choose from for their Student Consulting Project. The Pink House, The Purple Avocado, Partnership Carson City, The Brewery Arts Center and Harcourts Realty presented their challenges to the students Monday afternoon, so that the students could then pick which business they wanted to help with. After dividing into the different businesses, the students come up with proposals to provide solutions for their specific needs. The challenges the students were presented with ranged from how to get more teenagers to concerts at the Brewery Arts Center, to how businesses like The Purple Avocado can utilize social media more. The 15 New E students offered up initial questions and proposals for the presenters, but will work researching and coming up with more in-depth solution proposals.

“I think this is a great concept for kids because when a lot of people think of the Boys and Girls Club, they think of kids just running and playing,” said Jeanne Whited, a presenter from The Pink House in Genoa. “These kids are given opportunities to work with other businesses.”

Whited said it is great for their business to work with the teenagers, because they have an insight that differs from theirs.

“Adults are so focused on work and things and kids don’t have that and their minds work differently so I think it is good they get to listen to different businesses and hear what they have to say,” Whited said.

The business proposal project isn’t just beneficial for the business community, but the students gain a lot of knowledge about business management as well as learning more about their own city.

“I love (this project), I love how Alex brings in more people so we get a better understanding of what is in the community,” said 14-year-old Mia Liao. “I always have ideas and my friends do too so the fact that we can express and show them and work together is cool and its cool getting to work together.”

The businesses will come back Wednesday to hear the teens’ proposals for how to fix their challenges.

“This is beneficial for the kids because it gets them thinking about consulting and entrepreneurship,” Ellison said. “And the businesses get the benefit of getting new ideas. What is beautiful about this is to get them aware of local businesses here and the cool opportunities here.”

Ellison is hoping to introduce this to the business classes at Carson High School so the students get the opportunity to really work with the businesses to create actual long-term solutions and ideas.


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