Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

April 2, 2014

Program teaches business basics

TRAVERSE CITY — Matt Lyon believes job recruiters pay special attention to his resume when they see his experience running a business.

Lyon, a senior studying industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan, is looking for a sales job.

“The University of Michigan doesn’t give a minor in sales,” Lyon said. “When I say I have all this experience, it really puts me above and beyond the rest of my field of people who want the same job.”

Lyon spent his college summers painting houses in Traverse City through Young Entrepreneurs Across America’s Student Painters program, which helps college students start exterior painting businesses.

“Our mission is to teach the next leaders how to run their own businesses,” Lyon said. “You have to start somewhere. We chose exterior painting because there’s a low start-up cost, it’s easy to learn and you can teach college students how to do it.”

This is Lyon’s fourth summer working with Student Painters, and he made his way up to a regional manager position. He mentors eight students in the program who each will have their own painting business.

Nick Coscarelly is one of those students. He’s a freshman at Central Michigan University and will run a Student Painters branch in Traverse City this summer. He’ll be a branch manager, and will have to hire employees, market his business, find customers and paint houses.

“The main thing is just to get my feet wet in business,” Coscarelly said. “I will be going into some sort of business thing. Plus, it’s great money. I’m planning on making $15,000 to $20,000 this summer.”

Students apply to be part of Student Painters, then the company sets them up with a mentor and an investment of about $8,000 to get started. The students pay back 38 percent of their revenue to Student Painters. There are 55 Student Painters branch managers in Michigan.

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