There Is No “Too Young” in Business
When you start in business young you tend to deal with herds of people who all want to ask the same questions, either “how old are you” or “when did you get started”. Well, the operative word in that sentence is “herd.” Don’t get mad at those folks, they’re just going along with status quo, and they simply don’t know any better. The Old Way of doing things included an artificial “marking time” checklist before you were allowed to get out and do anything of real significance.
Fortunately, thanks to evolving culture, access, and technology, those days are coming to an end. Sure, there are still some cultural standard bearers out there telling people “just wait” but there are many others out there giving young people resources, opportunities, and options.
For example, there’s an incredible program going on out in Sandy, Utah where young entrepreneurs are making the most of their youth, their ideas, and their time. The program is an offshoot of an idea that is now more than ten years old. The Young Entrepreneurs Academy was founded at the University of Rochester back more than a decade ago, and in that time the message spread.
About The Young Entrepreneurs Academy
Organizers are quick to tell everyone this program is not about “job training.” It’s not about teaching people how to be members of the workforce. It’s about mentoring leaders and innovators. Applicants tell organizers what sort of business they want to open, they describe the whys, hows, and wherefores, then 24 are chosen to continue in the program.
Selected students are paired up, and similar business plans are combined, so that each program cycle works on 12 individual plans. Students are given direction, resources, relevant instruction, and advice. They are taught the basics long before they go to business school in college. Yes, these kids are fluent in topics such as ROI, costs, labor issues and what separates a complete business plan from a potentially catastrophic failure.
The point of the program is to encourage and educate a generation of kids. Helping them realize the only thing holding them back is what they can’t do and what they don’t know. Teaching them to pursue their own dreams with tangible plans, and allowing them to experience lessons many new CEOs only learn when it’s far too late to turn the ship around.
Chris Burch is a venture capitalist and founder of Burch Creative Capital.