High school entrepreneurs give sneak peek of their business plans

News 12 First at Five / Friday, April 27, 2012

WARRENTON, Ga. -- Some call it the American dream: starting your own business, being your own boss.

A group of high school students in Warren County are getting a head start on that dream.

Nine students were chosen for the first Youth Entrepreneur Academy, also known as YEA! The high schoolers have been working on their business plans all semester. They've taken classes, field trips, worked on marketing and advertising plans, and now, they're each ready to show off all of their hard work to the community.

Aquala Pritchard is a student in the YEA! program.

"My business is called 'Higher Emphasis,' which is an event decorating service," she said.

Pritchard, along with eight other Warren County High School students, has been busy making plans for her business.

"I got the idea from a friend of mine; I decorated her room and she said, 'Hey! You're good at this,' so I said hey, why not start a business that I'm good at?" she said.

The students have been part of the YEA! program all semester, learning what it takes to own your own business.

"From marketing to financials, insurance, risk management, just anything you can imagine in starting your own business," said Scott Swann, the business education teacher at Warren County High School.

Investors from the community helped finance the start-up costs, like graphic designers to help make their business cards and pamphlets.

"We told them what we wanted and they did their best, and I think they turned out pretty good," said Tyja Hill, a YEA! student.

One student will even be taking her business plan to New York next week, competing in a national entrepreneur competition.

"The second round, if you make it, you pitch your business to a big investor panel. And they choose out of the top three. You can get a $300,000 scholarship," she said.

Swann says he thinks the class has really paid off for the students.

"It empowers the students that instead of going out there and depending on someone else for a job, it gives them the ability to go out and create their own job and make things happen for themselves," he said.

The students will host a trade show Wednesday at the Side Street Pizzeria in Warrenton. It will begin at 5 p.m., and the students will have exhibits, videos and plenty of information about each of their businesses. They invite anyone to attend.

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