Entrepreneurship Week includes contest for students of all ages

By Caroline Klapper | Feb 01, 2013

Every year, National Entrepreneurship Week is the perfect opportunity for Haywood Community College to highlight the many programs it offers in business and entrepreneurship, but this year, the college is trying to get younger generations involved.

During the week of Feb. 16 through 23, the college will offer a variety of events with one geared toward encouraging students of all ages to think about entrepreneurship in a different way.

The "I Have a Great Idea Student Entrepreneurship Contest" is open to all county school-aged children and students at HCC. The contest, which offers prizes of $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third, is an innovation contest. Students are asked to submit a great idea for a new business concept or invention. Submissions will be in the form of a three minute or less YouTube video.

“We’re hoping to get participation from the school-aged children in Haywood County,” said Michelle Choate, interim department chair in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department at HCC. “The reason we want to do this is, in a simple way, … get them to recognize that business ownership, innovation and entrepreneurship are possible for them.”

The contest is divided into three categories, K to fifth grade, sixth to eighth grade, and ninth grade through college level.

“I think we’ll see a variety of ideas,” said Business and Entrepreneurship instructor Meredith Carpenter. “We’re very excited about the diversity that will come through. We certainly expect some great things to come out of this, and really an awareness that we’re here to help.”

By submitting the presentation of their idea via a YouTube video, Carpenter said students can be as creative as they want to be, whether they make a commercial, make up a jingle, or any other idea they might have.

“We want young people to have an outlet for their voice and have fun with the entire process,” she said.

Entries are due by Monday, Feb. 18 and should be submitted online at http://www.entrepreneurshipathcc.blogspot.com.

Entrepreneurship Week will continue with events for everyone, Carpenter said.

On Tuesday, Feb. 19 there will be a workshop on Marketing Your Business on Facebook facilitated by Denise Teague. The workshop is for businesses that are already using a business Facebook page and want to learn how to use it more effectively for marketing the business. The workshop is from 6 to 8 p.m. at HCC in Room 219. The event is open to the public, but space is limited. Call Sharron Donnahoe, HCC Small Business Director at 627-4512, for information.

From 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Feb. 20 the public can join Business instructor Linda Caldwell for a game called Meet Local Business Owners Game Show and Amanda Sorrells of New Generation. Local business owners will share, in a game show format, their biggest challenges, tips for success and advice. The game will be in the Student Center Auditorium, First Floor.

On Thursday, Feb. 21 there will be a Showcase for Student Entrepreneurs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the HCC Library. The event is open to the public and features HCC students pitching their idea for a product/service or a craft for a chance to win money to help start their venture.

Finally, also on Thursday, Feb. 21, is the Salon Ownership Forum. From 3 to 4 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium, First Floor, local entrepreneurs from the cosmetic arts industry will serve as panelists, sharing their years of experience and answering questions about the industry.

All of these events are designed to encourage participation and help people discover how entrepreneurship could work for them, Choate said.

“We want to get people excited,” she said.

“The reality is that we are living in a changed work environment, and we have a changed workforce. In Haywood County, we don’t have a large corporate landscape. If you don’t start a small business, chances are, you work for a small business,” Carpenter added. “We want to help people understand what it takes for a small business to operate. It’s really taking a fresh look at standard business concepts.”

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