Library launches teen entrepreneurship program
— For students currently struggling to find a summer job, the Cecil County Public Library has a better idea: create your own.
Later this month, the library will launch Start-Up Cecil, a threeprogram series and business plan contest for aspiring teen entrepreneurs. The program starts with classes on June 20 and June 27 and concludes with a business plan showcase on July 11 where a panel of judges will critique their business plans.
Top prize in the contest is a $200 Visa gift card with second place earning $100 and third place earning $50. All participants will also get Start-Up Cecil T-shirts and other business-related prizes such as business cards and books on teen entrepreneurship.
Katelyn McLimans, young adult library associate, said she already knows many students who try to make extra cash during the summer through yard work, painting nails or other similar jobs.
“So we’re taking these great
ideas kids already have and helping them become entrepreneurs,” she said.
The first session on June 20 will focus on brainstorming business ideas, going over the contest rules and hearing from guest speakers. At this session, Jason Lim, a financial advisor at Edwards Jones, will discuss how to get funding and investments and Shreyas Parab, a teen entrepreneur from Delaware who started his own novelty tie company, will speak to students about what it’s like to start a business as a teenager, McLimans said.
At the second session, McLimans and Laura Metzler, the small business librarian, will teach students how to write a business plan and what resources are available at the library to help them, McLimans said.
The program culminates on July 11 with the business plan showcase and judging. Councilman Dan Schneckenburger, Kim Swyka of Columbia Bank and Cathy and Jim Parsons from Best Vacations in Elkton, will judge the contest, Metzler said. Though the judges will get the business plans in advance to give them time to read them over, students will also be judged based on their five-minute “Shark Tank-style” presentation, she added.
The judges will be looking for creativity, a solid presentation and a well-articulated and achievable business plan, Metzler said.
Metzler spends much of her time working with adult small business owners and said she understands how much hard work goes into running a business. With Start-Up Cecil, Metzler said she hopes students understand how much work is involved but also that becoming an entrepreneur is an achievable goal.
“I thought it would be really great to show teenagers and young adults the reality of small business ownership and basically what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur so that if that’s a goal of theirs they’ll know ahead of time what needs to happen and what they need to be thinking about,” she said.
Start-Up Cecil participants must be between the ages of 11 and 17 and can work in teams of up to three people. Attendance at the first two sessions is not required to enter the contest, but all business plans must be submitted by 5 p.m. on July 5 and participants must give a presentation on July 11 to be eligible to win.
Business plans can be submitted at any CCPL branch or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can register for the classes by calling 410-996-5600 ext. 481 or emailing email@example.com.
The Cecil County Public Library is starting a new teen entrepreneurship program called Start-Up Cecil.