The new Entrepreneurial Academy offers teens and young adults information to start their own businesses.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — When you have an idea for a business or want to be self-employed, a million questions come with the territory. Where do you get funding? How do you conceive a business plan? Who should be your partners? Do you need partners?

For teenagers or young adults in their early 20s with an idea, the list of questions becomes even longer. Will anyone take me seriously? Do I have the experience to do this? To encourage young and budding business owners, Urban Youth Impact, a nonprofit organization, dedicated to providing resources, facilities, personal mentorship and employment opportunities to facilitate the growth and development of Palm Beach County’s under-served youth, is launching a new Entrepreneurial Academy program.

The Entrepreneurial Academy is designed to give participants, ages 17-25, a foundational education on building a business; and will also feature local business owners sharing their lessons on developing, growing and owning a concept. At the end of the 12 week program, participants will be given the tools to draft their own business plans and pitches, which will be made to angel investors who will select a winner. The winner will receive seed funding for his or her business idea.

“We want our youth to walk away with the foundational knowledge of how to establish a successful business,” said Allison Yandell, program manager for Urban Youth Impact’s Entrepreneurial Academy. “This is a one-onone program, structured so that each person receives personalized guidance and under- standing. It is also a bridge for the business community to get involved with the next generation of entrepreneurial talent in Palm Beach County.”

Beginning in March, the pilot program will include six to eight youth from Urban Youth Impact’s current programs, which include ReFrame, a workplace/employment skills development and character-building program. The next Entrepreneurial Academy will begin in the fall, and recruitment for participants, mentors and speakers will take place throughout the year. The Academy plans to remain limited with only 1012 participants, Yandell said, but there will be unlimited opportunities for members of the business community to get involved.

UYI President and Founder Bill Hobbs met with partners Doug Twohill and Robert Simpson years ago to devise a way to inspire and channel the entrepreneurial spirit of local youth. Twohill and Simpson started the discussion after reading How the Poor Can Save Capitalism, and began looking at what could be done in West Palm Beach.

“The Entrepreneurial Academy is a natural extension of the educational trajectory we try to provide at Urban Youth Impact. Starting with consistent, quality tutoring and mentoring, we show our children that goals can be met with focus and determination,” Hobbs said. “If they want to run their own business, then their education and our programs should make that pathway possible. This is still the American dream.”

For more information, please contact Di- rector of Development Allison D. Tardonia at 561-832-9220, ext. 112