Youth program to focus on entrepreneurial skills |

Youth program to focus on entrepreneurial skills

Teri Vance
Sixteen-year-old Jake Fenzke, 15-year-old Cameron Junger, 16-year-old Chelsea Phillips and 17-year-old Alyssa Sisson play Pictionary in the teen center of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada on Friday afternoon.
Shannon Litz/ | Nevada Appeal

With job opportunities scarce, the youth of Carson City may have a new opportunity — to create their own.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada is partnering with the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation to create the Young Entrepreneurs Program to help young people learn the basics of starting a business and then helping them do it.

“The kids will actually start and run a business,” said Miya MacKenzie, spokeswoman for the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation. “It will be up to the manager and the kids to come up with an idea, then just get the business up and running.”

While the format for the program has been established, along with a board of directors, a manager to run the program still is needed.

“Ideally, this person would have started their own business at one point, but it’s not a requirement,” MacKenzie said. “Most importantly, they would have to work well with kids, have the ability to ignite them and keep them excited.”

While the business is yet to be officially determined, MacKenzie said Madeleine De La Torre, owner of the former Madeleine’s Cookies, is offering up her business model.

The program will be run out of the Boys & Girls Club but be open to all youth in Carson City. It will consist of several classes teaching different entrepreneurial skills. Members may attend one or all of the classes. High school students will run the business, however middle school students may also participate in the program.

MacKenzie said studies show that students who participate in entrepreneurial training are more likely to graduate high school, go to college and to make more money.

“We want to make sure youth are exposed to every aspect of running a business,” she said. “It just gives them a first-hand understanding of the business, which gives them a head start in life.”

Laurie Gorris, chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, said the program is coming along at the perfect time as funding has nearly disappeared for employing teens at the club.

“This is creating a wonderful employment opportunity,” she said. “This could be a model for Boys & Girls Clubs across the country if it’s successful, which I’m sure it will be. It’s huge.”

MacKenzie said they hope to find a manager within the month, and that the program continues to grow.

“The concept is that the business would be successful enough to continue to support the club,” MacKenzie said. “The theory is we could continue to launch new businesses. We could have several businesses around town that were started through the Boys & Girls Club.”