TRAVERSE CITY — Where there’s a will there’s a way.
That old saw will be evident to area high school students Wednesday when they compete in Junior Achievement’s Youth Summit for Future Entrepreneurs when they learn to create an event in northwest Michigan. The event takes place at the Hagerty Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The summit will pair teams of students with local entrepreneurs. They’ll spend a day planning an event to target 13- to 17-year-olds, then present their ideas to a panel of judges who will act like potential investors.
“I’d like them to see (that) any idea they have or entrepreneurial spirit they have is possible because their mentors are fellow entrepreneurs and fellow business people (who) have made it happen in the community,” said Taryn Carew, district manager for Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes. “Our hope is they can go on and be inspired by this idea of creating an event and hopefully go on and carry it out in their community.”
The winning team will receive iPads from the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.
Michigan Great Lakes Junior Achievement created the Youth Summit for Future Entrepreneurs last year. The Great Lakes group is a branch of the national organization that works with students to promote work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
Students who participated in the first summit were asked to create a product out of something typically thrown away, and the winning team created a business where parents could exchange trendy children’s clothes rather than throwing them away and buying new.
Radio host Ron Jolly will return as a mentor to help another set of students learn about working together, making a business plan and turning it into reality.
“I think it gave them the confidence that they have the capability to start a business someday,” Jolly said. “They learned the basics of what goes into it. It’s not just something other people do, it’s something they can do.”
The trick to organizing a great event is understanding who will participate in it, then promoting the event to those people, Rachel Jarosz said. Jarosz is an events manager with Events North and is helping to organize the youth summit.
“Other pieces that go into a successful event are detail orientation, creativity, and it goes back to marketing,” Jarosz said. “You can’t have a great event without terrific partners —business partnerships, volunteers. One person can’t put on a successful event. It has to be a team of people.”
Angie Morgan will give this year’s keynote address. Morgan is a former Marine Corps officer who co-created a consulting firm called Lead Star that helps companies like Facebook, Google and ESPN, and organizations like Michigan Works, develop employee leadership skills.