Providing professional mentorship is an essential part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), which is sponsored by the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce. The innovative program guides students through the process of starting a business, and pairs each student with a professional mentor.
Professional mentors for the 2018-2019 class include:
• Peter Layne, The Home Depot
• Arthur Morin, BrandSouth Marketing
• Victoria Copeland, The Victoria Copeland Team
• Sally Sutton, Anchored Media Marketing
• Lennard Howell, Team-Britt Mobile Game Arcade
• Elizabeth Omiteru, Cre8ive Zone
• Betty Morgan, Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce
• Vicky Layne, Self Employed
• Franchesca Griffin, Black Crow Media
• Beverley A Richardson-Blake, Richardson's Lawn Service
• Gary Kuhlmann, Spyderserve Corp
• Les Bass and Ivelisse Torres, Goodwill
“These industry experts will help the students fine-tune their concept, write a business plan, and identify their target audience,” said DeWayne Johnson, YEA! program director. “YEA! relies on the generosity of its sponsors; people who identify with entrepreneurship and want to help pave the way for future entrepreneurs.”
The YEA! 2018-2019 Superstar Sponsor is Southwest Georgia Bank, and Premier partners include Georgia Power and Valdosta State University Enactus. In addition, Investor Panel Judges include:
• CJB Industries
• Miller Hardware
• Barnes Healthcare Services
• The Home Depot
• RISE: A Real Estate Company
• Lowndes County Schools
“We can’t wait to see the results of their passion and creativity,” said Jonathan Miller, owner of Miller Hardware. “As a community, we are very fortunate to have this program influencing the business forecast of Lowndes County.”
During the course of the 20-week program, local businesses have an opportunity to become involved with YEA! at various levels. From teaching the basics of business to inviting students to tour their companies, volunteers participate in a variety of capacities.
“Students work in close cooperation with local business and community leaders and educators, who use their personal experiences to demonstrate how to develop ideas and objectives, pitch to potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, establish e-commerce and a web presence, and more,” said Johnson. “By the end of the class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses that they can continue after graduation from the program.”
For more information about YEA or how to get involved, email DeWayne Johnson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YEA student, Jacob Howington, left, receives assistance with plans for his live-gaming competition business, from Lennard Howell of Team-Britt Mobile Game Arcade and Ivelisse Torres of Goodwill-Southern Rivers.