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Denver’s Don’t-Miss Programs for Budding Entrepreneurs

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Have you ever noticed how hard it can be to say no to a child? That’s because kids are natural sales people. However frustrating a determined child can be, the abilities to influence and persuade can be extremely valuable later in life, particularly when coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit. Junior Achievement’s Director of Communications Kim McGrigg recommends some local programs to help turn a child’s “never take no for an answer” attitude into a successful career.

Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace – April and December
The Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace is an event hosted by the Young Americans Center for Financial Education that allows young business owners to display and sell their unique handmade products to the local community. The $25 participation fee secures a spot at one of the markets and includes a two-hour education class for young business owners to learn strategies for success. In the fall, Young Americans Center for Financial education also holds a business competition and awards ceremony for young between 6 and 21. For more information visit http://www.yacenter.org/entrepreneurship.

JA Business Week – June

During this one-week “crash-course” in business hosted by Junior Achievement, high school students meet new friends from across Colorado, live on a college campus, work with local companies on an “Apprentice”-style project, learn how local business got their start, and find out more about themselves and their future. The $250 registration fee covers programs, meals, and lodging making this sleep-away camp a bargain. Plus, plenty of scholarships are available. For more information visit www.jabusinessweek.org

Lemonade Day – June
Lemonade Day is a free, fun, experiential learning program that teaches kids of all ages how to start, own and operate their own business – a lemonade stand. Each child that registers receives materials that teach them important life skills such as like creating budgets and setting goals. Along the way, they acquire problem solving skills, and gain self-esteem critical for future success. Kids keep all the money they make and are encouraged to spend some, save some and share some. For more information visit http://denver.lemonadeday.org/.

YouthBiz – Year-Round

YouthBiz provides an empowering peer-to-peer, entrepreneurial-based learning environment for kids age 12 to 18. YouthBiz is not only an after-school program, but a first job experience for youths in a predominately low-income neighborhood with few options for employment. Participants learn how to start their own business, tackle hard questions, and earn money while they learn. Youth leaders interview and select trainees, teach classes, and develop new programs. For more information visit http://www.youthbiz.org/

The FIRE Within – School Year
The Carson J Spencer Foundation’s The FIRE Within program inspires and coaches students in Colorado high schools to find market based solutions to mental health issues. After learning entrepreneurial skills and analyzing of the drivers of suicidal distress, these emerging entrepreneurs are challenged to develop, market, and ultimately sell a product of their own making. They can also compete for micro-grants to seed fund implement their ideas. Students in The FIRE Within program meeting during school hours or after school. For more information visit http://carsonjspencer.org/programs/firewithin/.

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