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Editorial: Business plan

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Prominent Youth is a not-for-profit organization based in Kansas City, Mo. It's aim is to give entrepreneurial high school students an opportunity to not just learn how to succeed in business, but to start a business and see it become a success. The students are helped by mentors who provide advice and guidance. And the students are paid while they develop business and advertising plans and learn about budgets.

Since its founding in 2005, Prominent Youth has started regional operations in Wisconsin, Texas -- and Cape Girar-deau. Prominent Youth's founder, Scott Beeson, is from Perryville, Mo.

There are a number of government-sponsored youth mentoring programs already operating in Southeast Missouri. So what does Prominent Youth have to offer? Other programs focus getting high school diplomas, learning parenting skills and preparing to join the work force. Prominent Youth pays students to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into working businesses with the option becoming owners of those businesses.

There are other programs, such as the one-day Camp Enterprise sponsored by area Rotary International clubs, that offer a better understanding of the free-enterprise system. If the success of Prominent Youth in its established programs is any indication, high school students in this area will soon be able to test their ability to start and run profitably businesses.

Recent stories in the Southeast Missourian have spotlighted youths in our area who have started their own businesses. Programs that foster business development and offer youths an opportunity to work with experienced mentors should be encouraged. We'll be watching to see how Prominent Youth does in the coming months.

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This sounds fine and good; however, I'm curious. What ever happened to the national program known as Junior Achievement? JA would draw from the managerial and technical expertise from successful companies who would serve as "advisors" (but with no vote) to students who would form and run all aspects of a company. The students would start by voting for all department managers and even the CEO, such as: Personnel, Accounting and Finance, R&D, Production (including Prod. Control), Marketing, even a Plant Security Dept., etc. The advisors would do just that, advise, but the students had to do all the "heavy lifting" to make the virtual company successful...albeit some would fail, but that was a good experience too. Some students would even decide to incorporate, and continue as a real company after the JA program ended! My experience was while working in a management rotation program at Hughes Aircraft and, boy, was it great for not only students but advisors as well. Believe it or not, JA drew the interest of base commanders in the military too. Bring back JA!

-- Posted by Herr_Hauptmann_DES on Thu, Dec 27, 2007, at 12:28 PM

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