The spirit of entrepreneurship filled the room on Thursday, February 13 during the YEA! CEO Roundtable event. At this event, students from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) at the Valdosta
Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce received personalized business and networking advice from four local CEOs, including:
Damian Grey, Owner, FilmStory
Molly Deese, Vice President & General Manager, Wild Adventures Theme Park
Kent Buescher, CEO, U.S. Press
Jason Bellflowers, Owner, Virtual World Technologies, Inc.
The CEOs volunteered one-on-one time with middle and high schoolers while answering their questions as they prepare to launch and run their own businesses as part of their YEA! class.
The students were interested in the speakers’ education backgrounds, early business plans, life lessons and more.
Buescher, a “life-long entrepreneur” was happy to share tips learned from his wide array of business ventures.
“The best lesson business can offer is to learn to accept change,” he shared.
He wanted to be sure that the students were not discouraged if the business they intended to begin was not what they ended up with.
“Change is necessary to keep up with the times and can lead to new lessons and success,” Buescher added.
Grey was also eager to share some of his learnings and victories.
“My biggest success was learning to love the process of starting a business,” said Grey. “You learn so much along the way and I am grateful I figured that out and can appreciate it” he added.
The CEOs answered with transparency and were willing to share both their success and failures to better the students.
“Some of my best clients are ones I initially made mistakes with,” Bellflowers revealed. “They’re not loyal to me because of what happened, but because of how I came back from it. The best advice I can give is to always take the extra step and make it right,” he said.
Deese reiterated the importance of customer service.
“You have to build relationships; it makes a difference” she preached. “In my business, it is all about the people.”
YEA! teaches kids ages 11 to 18 how to identify their passions, develop a business idea, write a business plan, pitch investors for funding, and obtain all the necessary components to create a fully, formed and functioning business or social movement by the end of the 26-week class.
For more information on YEA! contact Betty Morgan at the Chamber at 229-247-8100 ext 234.
PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured Jason Bellflowers (Virtual World Technologies, Inc.), Kent Buescher (US Press), Molly Deese (Wild Adventures Theme Park and Damian Gray (FilmStory) spoke to local students at the YEA! CEO Roundtable Event.