Many more groups or persons might be helpful, from local economic development directors and Purdue Extension to community foundations, utility companies, local governments, United Way, 4-H and FFA.
Wilcox maintained, “If your community is not a youth-friendly community, you cannot be an entrepreneur-friendly community. You must have a quality of place that speaks to young people.” The area and its residents must engage youth or they will leave.
When asked about youth training programs, Osborne recalled Purdue offered the ag-related Ways to Grow. Sarah Lamping, Batesville community development director, remembered that years ago, Junior Achievement taught teens how to invent and market products.
Currently, Melissa Tucker, Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, listed two leadership programs for the young, the Mayor’s Youth Council, for students in grades 6-12, and the chamber’s Young Professionals group. “Some of them are thinking about opening up businesses.” Wilcox observed, “Those leadership opportunities can translate into entrepreneurial opportunities.” He wants to see students have the chance to run their own businesses. “Supervised Agricultural Experiences (offered at area high schools) is a great opportunity to hone your entrepreneurial skills.” Of course, 4-H has similar programs.
Barnard recommended Indiana’s Young Entrepreneurs Program. Established as a result of the passage of House Enrolled Act 1251 in 2011, YEP assists in making business plans come to life. ISBDC, in partnership with OCRA and Indiana Economic Development Corp., works with communities to provide incentives to the college-aged entrepreneurs who dream of owning businesses. These incentives can include but are not limited to free rent, grants, loans and utility support in exchange for the entrepreneur agreeing to locate the start-up within the community, according to the ISBDC Web site.
Qualified participants must be enrolled in a state educational institution or have graduated from one within the last three years. Program coordinator Noelle Dunckel has more YEP information at 317-232-0160 or email@example.com.
The free statewide Young Entrepreneurs Expo will be held Thursday, April 17, at DeveloperTown, 5255 Winthrop Ave., Indianapolis. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to meet personally with community leaders in a trade show-style format. To register: http://bit.ly/1koahTF.
Debbie Blank can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.
Second in a two-part series • Part 1: Economic data from Ripley and Franklin counties was published Tuesday, April 8.