MASON CITY, Iowa - Launching a new business isn't exactly easy, but local high school students are getting lessons in doing so.
During this week's Youth Entrepreneurial Academy (YEA) at NIACC, they're learning about all the fine parts of how to start a business, from research to seeking an audience to marketing, and utilizing critical skills and creativity, while using a curriculum called Lean Canvas. It organizes key parts during the business planning process such as problems, solutions, key metrics, cost structure, and revenue streams.
It's Trace Gau's second time attending the academy. He wants to follow in his family's footsteps and start his own business after graduation.
"You need to know who your customers are, not just everybody's a customer. You have to know specific areas and people."
Entrepreneur Jim Elias is sharing his knowledge with students.
"Whatever it is they want to start, they can do it. They can look at an idea and they've learned the methodology of what it takes to start something."
On Friday, participants will pitch their business ideas to entrepreneurs. The top ideas could net $500 in startup money. In addition, participants are eligible for an automatic $500 YEA scholarship if they choose to attend NIACC following high school graduation.
With generous financial support from the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation, the academy, now in its 22nd year, is a free event for participants.
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