The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Business

September 22, 2013

YEA gives young entrepreneurs real-world taste

YEA gives young entrepreneurs real-world taste

ANDERSON — Nathan Smith, 15, enjoys a good peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich – especially one made without crushed bread.

“It’s hard to make a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich once the bread gets squished,” Smith said. “I prefer it to be nicely square.”

The problem is, bread can easily get smashed during transportation from the store to the kitchen, he noted. That’s why he decided to create a solution, a protective box, to this common hazard – one that will hopefully make him a future CEO.

Smith is one of 14 students in Madison County’s first Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA), a 30-week class for middle and high school students.

Students in the academy are learning how to develop ideas into written business plans, conduct market research and sell their business ideas to a panel of investors at the February 2014 Investor Panel before launching their new business.

To be accepted into the program, students were required to write essays, provide letters of recommendations and face tight deadlines, said Corey Sharp, co-chair of YEA and the director of Purdue University’s College of Technology at Anderson.

“Some of them just wanted to have fun – you need to do it for more than just having fun,” he said. “It is not a light commitment.”

Angela Barbosa, Madison County Chamber executive vice president and co-chair of YEA, said students are brainstorming for company names and have begun researching their competition. YEA, she said, is an excellent tool to teach students about business, but also a great way to build confident leaders with values.

Smith is already showing that confidence.

“I know it’s going to happen,” he said of his invention. “I’m very excited.”

John Smith, Nathan Smith’s father, said the program has helped his son become more focused and better organized.

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