Teen entrepreneurs refine their skills

"Growing Your Existing Business," an advanced entrepreneurship class for Michigan 4-H teens, was held June 24-26, 2009 during the annual 4-H Exploration Days and offered great resources for teen business owners.

“Growing Your Existing Business,” an advanced entrepreneurship class for Michigan 4-H teens, was held June 24–26, 2009 during the annual 4-H Exploration Days and offered great resources for teen business owners.

Youth as entrepreneurs? 4-H’ers starting businesses in Michigan communities? From jewelry to animal treats to local farm-stand efforts, youth are becoming business owners in Michigan through 4-H Youth Development.

The second annual 4-H Business and Entrepreneurship Expo at 4-H Exploration Days offered a new session to help these Michigan entrepreneurs explore and develop their entrepreneurial skills and spirit. The “Growing Your Existing Business” session was developed as a direct response to a need expressed by last year’s expo participants. Funded by a 4-H participation fee grant, this class offered 19 youth and adult participants who have a business or a developed business idea the opportunity to refine and learn the skills necessary to expand and grow their business venture.

Youth were paired with experts and entrepreneurs from the mid-Michigan area to help participants develop their skills in such things as product pricing, marketing, learning from failures and successes, and navigating your community. Participants heard from local adult and youth entrepreneurs about the challenges and joys that they face in owning their own businesses. In addition, several 4-H youth had a chance to sell their products to Exploration Days participants during the 4-H Marketplace.

All in all, this session was an excellent opportunity to further the skills of youth entrepreneurs so that they may be able to develop successful businesses for Michigan. As one youth participant stated, “Talking to the guest speakers and being able to take back great info and resources was such a valuable component to this program.”

For more information on the “Growing Your Existing Business” session or the 4-H Business and Entrepreneurship Expo, contact Erica Tobe at 517-355-9655 or tobee@msu.edu.

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