West Virginia Executive Summer 2014 - Page 108

[ entrepreneurship ] Inspiring Innovation By Dawn Nolan According to the West Virginia Department of Commerce, 97 percent of companies in the state are classified as small businesses. That statistic alone indicates the significant impact that entrepreneurship has had on West Virginia’s economy. While the age of business owners ranges considerably, the importance of teaching youth the necessary skills to succeed in that arena is in no way lost. In fact, reports have shown that the number of young ExEdge entrepreneurs has been, and continues Creel Price, to be, on the rise. a life-long One organization that recognizes this entrepreneur, trend and its value—not only to West founded Club Kidpreneur, a Virginia and its neighbors but to the nonprofit focused entire country—is the Ohio-West Virginia on the next Youth Leadership Association (YLA). generation of “The Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadentrepreneurs. ership Association works across the Source: www. region to develop leadership, character, clubkidpreneur. service and entrepreneurship into the core com fabric of our individual communities, 108 west virginia executive The T een Entrepreneurship Summit states and the nation,” says Dave Wetsch, YLA district director. One of the ways in which the YLA fulfills their mission is through the Teen Entrepreneurship Summit. Since 1978, the YLA, in cooperation with the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, has aided young adults in developing their full potential by expanding their knowledge and skills in the areas of business development, free enterprise, leadership and volunteer service through the Teen Entrepreneurship Summit. “We seek to build a stronger community through educating today’s youth to become more entrepreneurial,” says Wetsch. For six days every summer, high school students from across the region descend upon Camp Horseshoe, a long-running educational and meeting facility in Parsons, WV, to learn about the principles of entrepreneurship, leadership and service. “Through a variety of hands-on activities, teens learn communication and leadership skills, business practices, budgeting, marketing, identification of the strengths of their home community and civic engagement opportunities and While the age of business owners ranges considerably, the importance of teaching youth the necessary 6