For middle and high school students interested in a more hands-on education in business than they might find in a classroom, the application deadline for the 2012-2013 class of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Academy is approaching.
The deadline to apply for the Young Entrepreneurs’ Academy, sponsored by the Laurinburg-Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce, is Sept. 7. Students attending public, private, or homeschool may apply, provided that they live in Scotland County.
YEA is designed to give students a thorough grounding in the knowledge required to run a business, with courses on financing, developing ideas, and formulating a business plan. Most of YEA’s Class of 2012 were the owners of fully operational businesses by the time they graduated.
The class meets weekly on the campus of St. Andrews University. For the first 10 weeks of the program, classroom sessions will be taught by Jay Todd, Chief Operating Officer of Service Thread.
“Jay’s dedication to the community and deep entrepreneurial knowledge make him a great role model for YEA students,” said Jennifer McRae, who will direct the program with a liaison from Scotland County Schools. “Our goal is to teach students how to develop the type of entrepreneurial mindset that Jay has taken with him throughout his extremely successful career.”
A Laurinburg native, Todd graduated from Scotland High School in 1988, later earning a degree in business administration from St. Andrews Presbyterian College and an MBA from Elon College.
Earlier this year, Todd participated as part of a panel of local businesspeople who shared their experiences with YEA students. He credits the development of entrepreneurship with much of Service Thread’s success in North Carolina’s suffering textile industry.
“It was pretty exciting to see some young people involved because I think that’s really important for the future, not only in Scotland County and Laurinburg, but for our country as well,” Todd said.
While the program curriculum is formulated by YEA, Todd will share his own experiences in translating business concepts and developing students’ abilities.
“One of the things that’s very interesting to me is something called a SWOT analysis, a methodology for brainstorming about programs,” Todd said. “I’ve used that several times throughout my career to develop opportunities and decide what direction to go. I’m excited about that part of the program and helping bring that to life for kids who have not heard about this before, using real-world examples from our company.”
Although Todd has worked for larger companies, it is his experience in helping Service Thread grow from a 32-employee manufacturer that he plans to relate to students.
“I’ve been through a pretty significant growth experience with Service Thread, and it’s been a great experience for me to be a part of that at different levels,” said Todd. “I had an opportunity to start different divisions within the company and see different problems at the customer level. A company like this gives anyone the opportunity to see the whole picture as opposed to the little slice you might see working for a large company.”
Applications for YEA include an essay section and a letter of recommendation to be completed by a teacher, athletic coach, religious leader, or other adult outside of the applicant’s family.
Following the Sept. 7 deadline, students will be interviewed by a selection committee and notified of the decision before classes, which begin on Oct. 2.